After a tough start to the season that saw them win just two of their first six games, HV71 bounced back with a solid week and propelled themselves in to the 4th spot overall.
Team of the Week
With just seven points in their first six games, HV71 came in to the week sitting 11th overall. However, their fortunes took a turn this week as they strung together three straight victories and grabbed eight of a possible nine points.
They kicked off the week with a contest against rivals Linköping. In front of the hometown crowd the powerplay turned out to be the big difference in the game as HV71 capitalized on three of four opportunities. Backed by a 24 shot shutout performance by Jonas Gunnarsson, they were able to cruise to a 5-0 victory. Nils Andersson, Juuso Ikonen and Johannes Kinnvall also scored their first goals of the season in the contest.
Game number 2 of the week proved to be a much tighter contest for HV71 as they visited Oskarshamn for their first matchup of the season.
It was Oskarshamn who would strike first in the 2nd period as Niklas Hardt rippled the mesh to give the hometown team the lead heading in to the final frame. HV71 would answer back with a quick pair of goals in the 3rd to take the lead. Not to be outdone Oskarshamn answered back to force the overtime frame.
The extra frame was over quickly, however, as Anthony Camara put forth a contender for assist of the season, centering for Christian Sandberg who made no mistake rippling the mesh for the two point victory. With two assists and one goal, Camara proved to be the difference maker in the victory and became the first HV71 player to register a three point game this season.
HV71 went in to Saturday looking to make it 3 for 3 on the week against Brynäs and they did not dissapoint. Getting off to a great start with three goals in the first period they were able to hold on and cruise to a 4-1 victory to complete the week on a high note.
Moving from 11th to 4th in the standings was more than enough to secure their spot as the team of the week.
World Feed Game of the Week
Our game of the week on the SHL world feed came on Saturday afternoon in Linköping who were playing host to the Malmö Redhawks. Coming in to the game, Malmö was chasing their third win in a row and Linköping was hoping to put a stop to their early season struggles.
Heading in to the contest, Malmö boasted the best powerplay percentage in the league at 41% effeciency. Linköping was aware of the threat Malmö posed on the man advantage, meaning they wanted to be disciplined. Despite this fact, Linköping gave up the first powerplay of the game about half way through the frame and Malmös red hot powerplay took advantage. Marcus Björk unleashed a one timer from the top of the circle that beat Jonas Gustavsson far side to open the scoring. Not to be outdone on the man advantage Linköping answered back a man up. Andrew Gordon, with the fake shot slap pass, fed Max Lindroth who sent it home short side past Lars Volden. The 1st would finish locked at one with both goaltenders playing well.
The 2nd period would continue to be a test for both goaltenders as the teams exchanged scoring chances in the frame. Despite a pair of powerplays for both teams, neither were able to ripple the mesh. Lars Volden made 13 saves for Malmö and Jonas Gustavsson turned aside all 9 shots he faced in the frame as the 2nd finished just as the 1st did, locked at one.
The 3rd was much of the same from Malmö as they peppered Gustavsson with 11 shots in the frame. However, Linköping was unable to get much going in the offensive zone as they managed just 3 shots on target in the final frame of regulation. However, the stellar play of Gustavsson between the pipes for Linköping kept the game tied at one goal a piece and forced the overtime frame.
Linköping put themselves at a dissadvantage in the overtime frame as they took a bench minor for too many men on the ice with less than two minutes to play. However, a great team effort denied Malmö the game winner and a shootout was needed.
In the shootout, Konstantin Komarek opened the scoring with a fantastic goal, undressing Gustavsson with a couple of quick moves and a backhanded shot beat him up high. Johan Olofsson then finished it off to give Malmö the extra point in the shootout. Lars Volden was perfect, turning aside both shots he faced.
3 stars of the game
3 - Marcus Björk (MIF) 1G 3 SOG
2 - Lars Volden (MIF) 26 SVS
1 - Jonas Gustavsson (LHC) 30 SVS
Check out the game highlights:
The biggest change in the standings, as previously mentioned, was HV71 gaining seven spots moving from 11th to 4th this week. There was no change in the top three as Rögle continues to dominate at the top of the standings. There big win against Frölunda now gives them a four point cushion over the Indians who remain in second place with 15 points. Djurgården and HV71 are nipping at their heals, also with 15 points each. Luleå has fallen from 4th to 9th with two losses this week and the bottom of the standings remain the same as Linköping, Växjö and Brynäs continue to struggle early in the season.