Saturday 23 February, saw the final match played in this year’s SDHL quarterfinals matchups.
For the first time in the league’s history, the knockout phase has been decided through a best-of-five series.
Luleå v AIK
Last week saw favourites, Luleå/ MSSK go though in three straight games against AIK. The reigning champions beat the Stockholm club in convincing style, 19-0 across the three games with Swedish forward, Emma Nordin picking up most points and now leading the postseason scoring with nine (7G + 2A).
MODO v Brynäs
In the other pairing which was decided in three straight wins, MODO Hockey dispatched Brynäs IF clocking up 14-5 in goals.
MODO took a calculated risk in playing their second string keeper, Tindra Holm in the first match and she answered the call letting in just one goal. But up-front it was business as usual for Michela Cava, as the league’s top scorer scored eight points, including four goals, in the three games.
By contrast another Canadian, Cassandra Vilgrain, who has played in both the NCAA and USports leagues, topped the scoring for the team from Gävle with just two goals.
Linköping v Djurgården
In one of the quarterfinals that was decided yesterday, Djurgården IF shocked their opponents Linköping HC by winning the first game 5-0 away from home.
But it was not to be a repeat of their surprise 2016/7 championship victory for the Stockholm team and the Östergötland club bounced back to beat them 3-1 in matches.
The winners had brought in several players to bolster their roster in the playoffs, most notably Finnish international, Susanna Tapani and Canadian NCAA player, Brooke Stacey. But the goalscoring duties have continued to be dominated by their regular squad, lead by Buffalo Beauts drafted Canadian, Kennedy Marchment.
HV71 v Leksand
In the last quarterfinal Leksand IF met HV71 and it went to four matches for the teams who were only separated by one point after the regular season.
Leksand when down 0-2 in the series leaving them in the situation of needing to win all three of the remaining matches. But despite winning one match, and coming into the third period of the fourth match tied at 2-2, it was not to be and HV71 go through 3-1 on matches with total goals.
The negative talking point of the series was when HV71 captain Riikka Sallinen received a match penalty for Checking to the Head against Ida Nikula in the opening contest. The 45 year old veteran and Finnish Olympic bronze medallist received a four match suspension for the hit.
On the positive side for the Jönköping club, 23 year old Swede Maja Jakobsson continues her best ever points scoring regular season by leading the team in Total Points in the playoffs. She sits just one point behind Luleå’s Emma Nordin in the postseason top scorer list having scored six goals and two assists in the four matches.