Hermannson, Wedin, Häggblad lead No. 6 ranked team in the country at U16 Sweden Nationals
With 34 seconds left in regulation, Erik Häggblad slipped a shot past Djurgårdens goaltender Hugo Severgårdh. Not only did that goal eliminate No. 3-ranked DIF from playoff contention, but put an exclamation point on MoDo Hockey’s performance in the opening round of the Sweden U16 national championship.
The first round consisted of four groups of four teams competing in three-game, round-robin matchups. The top two teams from each group would advance to the second round of the tournament on March 24th. Häggblad’s goal against Djurgårdens clinched MoDo’s third victory of the weekend. It also secured their spot atop Group A, as one of three teams to go undefeated thus far in the tournament.
Coming into the Sweden U16 Nationals ranked No. 6 in the country, MoDo made a statement on day one of the tournament. Vincent Wedin posted a goal and two assists in a dominating 5-1 win over Skellefteå AIK. The next day, Elton Hermansson put up a three-point performance of his own as MoDo put together another astounding performance, 7-2 over No. 1 ranked Nacka. In that game, they outshot the top-ranked team in the country 43-27.
Three regulation wins secured all nine available points in the standings to push MoDo through to the second round. They will be joined by Nacka, after it went 2-1-0; the only loss being the previously mentioned defeat at the hands of MoDo.
Täby, Södertälje survive ‘Group of Death’ with wins on final day
Group B proved to be the closest of all four pools on the first weekend of Sweden U16 Nationals.
Täby defeated Södertälje. Södertälje defeated Timrå. Timrå defeated Luleå. Luleå defeated Täby. Going into the final day of action, all four teams had a path to advance, with three points apiece and three points up for grabs. Täby’s top performers Theo Stockselius, Marcus Nordmark and Melvin Novotny made sure their national championship hopes would live to see the second weekend. The trio combined to score five goals on Sunday — and 18 total points on the weekend — to push Täby through to the round of eight.
Jason Rosqvist, Jonathan Sandberg, Samuel Kjellström and Lucas Jarestrand scored four unanswered goals in the third period to push Södertälje past Luleå on the final day.
Laksonen leads dominant offense for Växjö Lakers
With six goals and nine points, Albin Laksonen led all skaters over the weekend in scoring. His Växjö Lakers scored 17 goals in their three games, leaning on a high-powered offense. Six different skaters contributed goals in the first round of Sweden U16 Nationals. The Lakers will likely continue to rely on their top line to carry them through playoffs. Laksonen, and linemates Noa Bräutigam and Olle Ågren were one of the most dominant lines from the first round. Top pair Malte Brolin and Theo Dahl gives Växjö a starting five that should compete with just about any team remaining in the tournament.
Malmö scored three unanswered goals to come from behind and defeat Färjestad on Saturday. Adrien Bartovic scored two of those and assisted on the third to finish the comeback. That game proved to be the difference maker, as Malmö finished one win ahead of Färjestad in pool play to earn the No. 2 spot.
No team in this group was ranked in the Top 10, so despite advancing, both Malmö and Växjö could be seen as longshots to win the tournament. Regardless, both have dangerous top lines, and both punched their tickets to the next round.
Forsberg backstops Brynäs to the second round
Tied for the fewest goals allowed through the first round of Sweden U16 Nationals, Brynäs surrendered just six goals in three games. William Forsberg stopped 117 of the 122 shots he saw over the weekend, including 29 on the final day in a 5-3 win over HV 71. Goals from Gustav Hillström, Leo Sundqvist and Sigge Holmgren propelled Brynäs to a come-from-behind win.
Despite the loss to Brynäs, HV 71 managed to earn the second spot and will advance to the next weekend of the tournament. Both Brynäs and HV 71 will meet again in the second round, as they are once again in the same group. Shooters like Theo Sonestedt, Noel Skarby and Fabian Merkle-Rohdin will have to find a way to best Forsberg once more.
Second round groups set for Sweden U16 Nationals
The eight teams to advance to the second round have been split into two groups of four. Where the top two teams from each group will once again advance to the third and final round of Sweden U16 Nationals. The final round consists of a four-team, single-elimination bracket. The two groups for the second round of action are: