With Luleå and Frölunda having locked up the first two semi final berths, just two spots remained in the final four this week. Färjestad was hoping to avoid an upset at the hands of HV71 and Djurgården was looking to close it out in Skellefteå.
With their playoff lives on the line, HV71 came in to game number 6 Monday nigt at home with everything to play for and they came out firing on all cylinders. Just as the series had been, this game was back and forth, and close until the very end. Färjestad opened the scoring and HV71 responded with a pair of their own in the first frame. The 2nd would prove to be much of the same with Färjestad rippling the mesh twice and HV71 scoring to send the game to the third period all locked at 3. With just over two minutes elapsed in the final frame, Didrik Strömberg was able to ripple the mesh to put HV71 on top. Despite some great chances in the frame, Färjestad was unable to tie things up and an empty netter would seal the 5-3 victory for HV71 to force a final and decisive game 7 on Wednesday night in Karlstad.
Tuesday night would also feature a game 6 in which Skellefteå was hoping to live another day, however, unluckily for them, they wouldn't have the same success as HV71. Skellefteå got off on the right foot with a goal in the opening frame from Joakim Lindström. Unfortunately for them, that would be all the offense they would muster in the game as Djurgården would add a pair of goals in both the 2nd and 3rd periods to punch their ticket to the semi finals with a 4-1 victory. The series win was made all that sweeter by the fact Skellefteå had eliminated Djurgården last year in the semi finals.
Wednesday night was the winner take all, do or die game 7 between Farjestad and HV71. To no ones surprise it was another tight contest that was left undecided until the very end. Färjestad would provide the opening salvo with a two on one opportunity sent home by Joakim Nygård. HV71 would respond in kind as Joakim Andersson was able to ripple the mesh to send the game to the 2nd period all locked at 1. It would take just over 9 minutes in to the 2nd frame to find the next goal of the game that came from Michael Lindqvist who stole the puck in the offensive zone and rippled the mesh to restore the lead. It would be short lived, however, as Simon Önerud would be sprung on the breakaway to tie it up just a few minutes later. Färjestad would follow that up with a response by Johan Ryno to send it to the 3rd 3-2 in favour of the home team. Coming in to this game, Färjestad was perfect in the series when leading after 3, and that didn't change as they were able to hold on for the victory and punched their ticket to the semi final round.
With the final four locked in the semi finals feature the top four finishers of the regular season. Färjestad (1) faces off against Djurgården (4) and Luleå (2) takes on Frölunda (3).
There wasn't much downtime until the semi finals started on Saturday as Färjestad and Djurgården were set to face off. Färjestad came out of the gates firing on all cylinders and were rewarded with a pair of goals in the opnening frame. They showed no signs of slowing down in the 2nd as they potted 2 more and were poised to carry the four goal lead in to the final frame. However, a goal from Sebastian Strandberg late in the frame would give Djurgården some hope heading in to the third.
Axel Jonsson-Fjällby would show his speed in the third as he intercepted the pass near his own blue line and turned on the jets through the neutral ice to spring himself on the breakaway. He made no mistake burying his thrid of thepost season past Markus Svensson to pull the game back within 2. However, the comeback was not to be as Färjestad would add an empty netter to seal the 5-2 victory and claim game number 1.
Game of the Week
Our game of the week was also our final game of the week on Sunday afternoon as Luleå played host to the Frölunda Indians in game 1 of the semi final round.
The first frame would prove fairly evenly matched with both teams exchanging chances and both goaltenders standing tall between the pipes. Both Joel Lassinantti and Johan Mattsson had fantastic stats in the quarterfinals and it looked like this game might turn in to a goaltender battle.
However, the 2nd would prove that wrong as Jacob Peterson was able to open the scoring after the intial shot from Ryan Lasch hit a skate and found him in the slot. Lulea would answer back with a beautiful cross ice pass from Isac Lundeström right to Nils Lunqvist who was able to tap it home past Matsson to tie the game at 1. Frölunda, however, would strike back with a pair of goals late in the frame. With less than 2 minutes to play, Joel Mustonen wired a wrist shot far side to restore the lead. With just 5 seconds remaining in the frame, Frölunda got a couple of fortuitous bounces of a pair of Luleå players and the puck found it's way in to the back of the net to give the Indians the 2 goal lead heading in to the third.
Luleå was all over the Indians in the third frame, outshooting them 13 to 5 in the period. Despite their constant bombardment on Svensson, they were unable to find the back of the net for the majority of the period, that is until they pulled Lassinantti with just under 5 minutes to play. Awarded a man advantage they had a 6 on 4 opportunity and Daniel Sondells rocket of a shot found its way past Mattsson to pull them back within 1. With just over a minute to play in regulation and, once again, with the net empty, Jesper Sellgrens wrister from the slot rippled the mesh and Luleå was able to complete the improbable come back and force overtime.
In the extra frame it was a bit of a reversal to the 3rd as Frölunda came out determined to claim victory and outshot Luleå 13 to 2. As the clock clicked down and Lassinantti looking all but unbeatable the Indians were finally rewarded. With exactly 3 minutes remaining in the first overtime frame, the puck found its way to Rhett Rakhshani in tight, and with Lassinanti caught out of position, he was able to send it home and send the Indians back to Gothenburg with the 1 game series lead.