Ilmarsson, Valdebenito, Reimdal, Asplund provide diverse scoring threat for Södertälje
Team depth is always a vital component of determining success during the course of a season. The ability of a club to rely on more than one or two players to produce allows for better flow and chemistry amongst the roster to develop naturally.
No team showed more depth at the 2022 Maxi Nacka Cup for 2009-born teams than Södertälje SK. The club boasted four of the top five scorers in the tournament, and it is from this immense spread of wealth that Södertälje was able to come home with a silver medal.
In their first game of the tournament, Nahuel Valdebenito used his strong hockey sense and quick hands to supply all the goals Södertälje would need in a 2-0 win against Värdmö HC.
Winston Ilmarsson — whose 11 points (4G, 7A) not only led Södertälje but were tops among all players at the games — was a constant threat to make something happen offensively every time he stepped onto the ice.
Despite this, Ilmarsson didn’t find the scoresheet until the team’s second game against Lidingö. He more than made up for it with the first two goals of the matchup and added an assist later.
In the following game — a 6-0 rout of Lidingö — Valdebenito did not record a single point. Insert Willie Asplund, who netted his first goal of the weekend only to end up tied with two other players at the tournament in total points with six (2G, 4A). Ilmarsson again added two tallies of his own as well.
In the team’s next victory, a second straight shutout this time against SDE, Neo Reimdal joined the fray in bolstering his offensive numbers with two goals, one assisted by Ilmarsson and the other by Valdebenito. Reimdal would find himself tied for third in points with Lidingö’s Wilhelm Andersson Jöhnk at tournament’s end with seven (4G, 3A).
In an 8-2 drubbing of Boo HC, Södertälje’s squad fully had their skating legs under them and it was evident from puck drop how comfortable the group was playing.
Out of the club’s eight goals, Ilmarsson, Asplund, Reimdal and Valdebenito all had a hand in six of them in some way. Boo was no match for the incredible chemistry on display from Södertälje’s top attackers.
Asplund fed Valdebenito with a fantastic pass to tie things up 1-1 in the first period of their first playoff game against Västerås. Wanting to add to his goal total, Asplund finished off a pretty passing play between Reimdal and Ilmarsson to give Södertälje a 2-1 lead five minutes later in an eventual 4-1 win.
What became evident as the tournament progressed was the incredible ability for Södertälje to work as a cohesive unit. If one player was shut down, another was ready to step in his place and produce results.
If anything, they entered their club in the mix of ‘09 teams to be reckoned with this season in Sweden.