Djurgårdens IF Gets Impressive Performance From Härenstam To Win Under-16 National Championship
There’s no doubt who the top 2006-born team is in Sweden after Djurgårdens’ dominant performance at nationals this weekend.
What started with 16 teams from four different regions on March 11, was down to the four best teams in the country on Saturday. Djurgårdens, SDE Hockey, Skellefteå and Täby HC entered the weekend with national title hopes still intact, however, only one would receive the gold medal come Sunday afternoon.
Goaltender Love Härenstam made a statement for himself, posting back-to-back shutouts on the game’s biggest stage. First, a 38-save effort in a 3-0 victory over SDE in the semifinal. Then, the next day he posted another 38-save outing in the championship game against Täby, as Djurgårdens rolled 4-0 in the final.
Through 300 minutes of playoff action, Härenstam had allowed five goals against (0.99 goals-against average) and stopped 138 shots (.965 save percentage), leading his team to the two biggest victories of the season to clinch the championship.
Anton Frondell and Martin Mivell — the team’s leading scorers in the regular season — continued to carry the offensive torch in playoffs, combining to score 11 goals and 22 points. Frondell scored the would-be game-winning goal in the semifinals with a power-play strike to open the scoring. Mivell scored the would-be game-winning goal in the championship game 10 minutes into the first period.
When the team needed it most, they got significant contributions from secondary scoring sources. Victor Eklund got onto the scoresheet in both games with a goal in the semis and an assist in the championship. He finished the playoffs with nine points; more than double his season total of four. Defenseman Victor Johansson scored a goal and two assists in the gold medal game, helping to cement the victory for DIF. Max Lind recorded a point in seven of the eight playoff games, including both the semis and championship to finish with nine in the postseason.
They had held the top spot in the ’06 Sweden Rankings for much of the season, and by adding the U16 national title to its resume, Djurgårdens has certainly validated those claims.
Unlike the United States, Russia and some other countries, Sweden only determines a youth hockey national champion at the under-16 age group. Any older age groups are considered junior hockey level. Younger age groups, on the other hand, conclude their seasons with significant tournaments like the Nordic Youth Trophy or Uplandia Trophy.
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