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Behind the Glass: Hiirikoski’s Hard Luck and the Rise of HV71

An all-SDHL edition of BtG

Michelle Jay

Behind the Glass is The Ice Garden’s weekly column collecting stories, stats, trends, and thoughts from the world of professional women’s hockey. This time around, we have an SDHL-only edition!

The ZhHL returns to action on Nov. 13 and the NWHL returns to action on Nov. 16.


SDHL

  • With the Five Nations Tournament underway, the SDHL’s regular season is suspended until Nov. 15. At the break, HV71 leads the SDHL with a record of 14-1-1. Thus far, Djurgården has been the only team to defeat them in regulation.
SDHL.se
  • Hanna Olsson of HV71 leads all Swedish-born skaters in scoring at the break. She’s also the highest-scoring skater under the age of 21 in the SDHL, although Petra Nieminen is just one point behind her despite playing in three fewer games. Olsson has nine goals and 13 assists in 16 games in her first season with HV71.
  • Brynäs superstar winger Lara Stalder is now up to 20 goals and and 11 assists in 14 games. Thus far, Stalder is averaging north of 1.0 even strength goal per-game in the 2019-20 SDHL season. She leads the league in goals, GWG, and points and has scored more goals while shorthanded (3) than she has on Brynäs’ power play (2).
  • Finnish defender Jenni Hiirikoski leads the SDHL with 91 SOG, but is sitting on one goal and a 1.1 Sh% in 12 GP; Hiirikoski had a 6.96 Sh% in 2018-19 and a 10.68 Sh% in 2017-18. In other words, she might be the unluckiest player in pro women’s hockey this year. Hiirikoski and Jennifer Wakefield (4.62 Sh%) are the only two skaters among the SDHL’s Top-15 skaters in SOG with shooting percentages below 5.0%. This season, the average shooting percentage at the team level is 8.94%.
  • Canadian defender Celine Tardif leads the SDHL in minor penalties (11). Tardif, 23, is playing in her first season of SDHL hockey after spending four years playing USports hockey at the University of British Columbia. She was recently suspended four games for delivering a hit from behind.
  • German goaltender Jule Flötgen made 50 saves on 53 shots for Leksand in a losing effort against Djurgården on Nov. 2. Flötgen is playing in her third SDHL season, though she played for Bergkamener Bären in the Frauen-Bundesliga last year. The 27-year-old goalie has a .903 Sv% in 647: 33 minutes this year for Leksand.
  • Meeri Räisänen has posted a .924 Sv% in 700:21 minutes of hockey while facing an average of 32.04 SA60 for AIK. Last season, Räisänen posted a .909 Sv% while facing an average of 32.83 SA60 while playing for the Connecticut Whale of the NWHL.
  • SDE is currently ranked sixth in the SDHL standings, but has had the best goaltending in the league thus far with a Team Sv% of .930. Canadian goalkeeper Lindsey Post has the best save percentage in the league (.932) while facing an average of 33.35 SA60. Unfortunately for Post and Sofia Reideborn, SDE’s offense is averaging 1.76 goals per-game — the lowest G/GP in the league.
  • Team Japan’s Haruka Toko leads the SDHL in faceoff percentage (60.93) and leads Linköping in goals (4). This is Toko’s first season in the SDHL. The 22-year-old center had two points — both assists — in five games for Japan at the 2019 IIHF Women’s World Championship.

All data courtesy of sdhl.se, stats.swehockey.se, and the author’s own tracking.