2013-03-06 16:22:00 | Okategoriserat
Skellefteå´s captain Jimmie Ericsson. Photo: Bert Söderström, Pic-Agency
Despite Skellefteå wrapping up the series with two games to spare, the remaining three vital top four positions were decided on goal differential after the final days play of the season, seeing Färjestad take second, Luleå third and HV71 fourth.
Bud Holloway took out the highest point scorers title, Carl Söderberg dominated in the goal scoring category and Alexander Salak finished the season with the best goaltending save percentage. Whilst the top eight teams fight it out for SM-Gold, Timrå and Rögle will be defending their place in Elitserien, as they take on the finest of the HockeyAllsvenskan league in Kvalserien.
Skellefteå clinched the series with two games left in the season, last Thursday evening, with a 3-2 win over bottom of the table Rögle. It was a well deserved series win, with utter domination all over the ice this season taking their first Elitserien season win since 1980/1981.
Bellemare and Möller. Photo: Bert Söderström. Pic-Agency.com
The Norrland's club overpowered their opponents on the ice all year, scoring the most goals, evidently giving them the best plus minus out of any club. Not only were they the hardest team to beat at home, the boys from the north also won more games away from home than any club in the series. It was a very complete year for the club, as they hope to take the series win's momentum into the playoffs and take their first SM-Gold in 35 years.
The fight for second position on the table went down to the wire between three clubs and took until the last day of the season to find out the final playoff order. Färjestad and Luleå both took wins on the final day to finish level on 102 total points with HV71.
Luleå acquired the three points that they needed against HV71, with a 2-1 victory, on the final day of the series to move into second place, only to see Färjestad simultaneously steal second from them with a 4-1 victory over Rögle, giving them a higher goal differential of only +2.
After the playoff opposition selection from the top three clubs, the quarterfinals now stand as, 1st-Skellefteå vs 8th-Brynäs, 2nd-Färjestad vs 7th-Modo, 3rd-Luleå vs 6th-Frölunda and 4th-HV71 vs 5th-Linköping.
Bud Holloway. Photo: Bert Söderström, Pic-Agency
Bud Holloway (Skellefteå), became the Elitserien's second highest point score of all time by finishing the season with the most assists of any player in the history of the league recording an astounding 20 goals, 51 assists totaling 71 points.
After becoming the highest point scorer of all time in a playoff series last year, Holloway was always going to be one to watch this season and he did not disappoint. With his sniper like shot, vision to pass the puck and powerful extra man play, the Canadian put on a show for the Skellefteå fans throughout the whole season and truly deserved to end the year as the Elitserien's highest point scorer.
Carl Söderberg (Linköping), finished the season as the Elitserien's highest goal scorer ending the season with 31 goals. With a strong start to the year and patches of mere brilliance during the season, Söderberg broke out an unassailable lead that could not be caught, beating his closest rival and team mate Pär Arlbrandt by 10 goals.
Alexander Salak. Photo: Simone Syversson, Pic Agency.com
The years best goaltender based on save percentage went to Alexander Salak (Färjestad), holding an outstanding percentage of 93.92. Salak has been a key part of Färjestad's success this season conceding an average of only 1.62 goals in his 41 matches between the posts. If the Karlstad club are to progress deep into this years playoffs it will undoubtedly be due to the continual strong form of their Czech goaltender, Salak.
It will be Timrå and Rögle that will have to defend their Elitserien contracts in Kvalserien after finishing 11th and 12th respectively in this years series. After fighting until the second last round of the season, Timrå, find themselves in the Elitserien qualifier for the second year running.
Where as, it is no uncommon ground for Rögle, who have been in the Kvalserien the previous seven years. Both teams will be hoping to repeat their efforts from last year and renew their Elitserien status as they take on the top three HockeyAllsvenskan clubs, Leksand, Södertälje and Västerås and also the winner of the Pre-Kvalserien competition between BIK Karlskoga, Djurgården, Örebro HK, IK Oskarshamn. The Kvalserien and the battle for Elitserien qualification will begin on Thursday 14th of March.
Now that the tight action filled season has come to a close, the time for unbeatable playoff hockey is now before us.