Six world-ranked teams will be in action at annual U15 Swedish tournament
From April 13-16th, 18 of the top 2008-born Swedish youth hockey teams will participate in the annual Uplandia Trophy. Five of those clubs are among the Top-10 programs in the WHH rankings. No. 1 Nacka HK, No. 5 Boo HC, No. 8 Linden HC, No. 9 AIK Hockey, and No. 10 Flemingsbergs IK. Adding a little wrinkle to the proceedings will be the addition of No. 6 Finland-ranked Tappara Sininen.
Each team will be tasked with five group-play games with a format of two 20-minute periods. With all of that in mind, let’s look at three teams who could contend for the championship at this year’s tournament.
Nacka comes in as one of the best teams of its birth year. With a 31-5-7 record to date, they have handled business quite well during regional group play. They finished first at the Sweden Hockey Trophy and third at the Folke Filbyter Cup this season. One thing that will certainly aid their search for a championship will be Oliver Sundberg. One of the most consistent skaters this season, Sundberg has compiled 15 goals and 22 points. That’s the second-most in the recent stretch of group play. In net, Gustav Stengård has been as reliable as any goaltender between the pipes. He’s compiled a respectable 1.58 goals-against average and .909 save percentage in group play. None of their initial five matchups come against ranked opponents, so Nacka should be able to hit the ground running right out of the gate.
Boo, much like Nacka, is a tested bunch when it comes to tournament play this year. After kicking off their season at the Sweden Hockey Trophy, they have since taken part in the Folke Lindström Cup and the Swedbank Trophy. At the Lindström Cup, dynamic duo of forward Viggo Fors and defenseman Olle Andersson made a splash on the scene. Additionally, Lukas Svensson is the current team leader in group play points with 25 (15G, 10A). Getting a majority of starts in net, Leon Andersson has garnered an impressive 1.21 goals-against average and .931 save percentage. If these players continue to produce similar resulets at Uplandia Trophy, they should contend for the top spot. With a first matchup scheduled against Flemingsbergs, it will take all hands on deck to open with a victory.
The team has participated in the Sweden Hockey Trophy, Folke Lindström Cup and secured bronze at the Nordic Youth Trophy. On top of tournament experience, Flemingsbergs sits first in its respective group division with a record of 17-3-1. I expect Salim Ismailov (20G, 17A) and Oliver Wall (14G, 20A) to do big things for their team. They finished as the first and third-most point getters in group play this season, respectively. Rounding out the potent power trio of forwards is Noel Dourrouj, who has collected 14 goals and 27 points.
For as dynamic as the offense is for Flemingsbergs, the Lindbom brothers provide a goaltending tandem that any team would be envious of. In group play, Benjamin Lindbom has recorded a 1.22 goals-against average and .935 save percentage with one shutout. Kevin Lindbom has collected a 1.27 goals-against average and .925 goals-against, with four shutouts. No matter who is in net, they give Flemingsbergs an ample boost. Flemingsbergs will open up Uplandia Trophy games against Boo, finishing up its remaining four games against unranked opponents.