With the past week behind us, we take a look at player and personnel moves within the league and highlights from the weeks action.
3 Games Each
The past week of action in the SHL was the busiest so far this season as all fourteen teams played three games in the past seven days. Some of the biggest stories of the week include Örebro's continued success. Malmö's big wins and a home and home against bitter rivals.
Örebro was coming into the week after a three win, 9 point performance the previous week and were looking to continue their success, which is exactly what they did. They came away with an OT win against Luleå on Tuesday, a regulation win against Växjö on Thursday, but unfortunately their five game win streak came to an end on Saturday against Timrå. However, they were still able to push that game to overtime and grab a single point in the standings. With their recent success they sit first overall with 29 points in 16 games, one ahead of Färjestad.
The Redhawks also found success over the past seven days as they kicked off their week with a big 6-1 victory over Linköping on the road. Their matchup against Färjestad on Thursday evening was not as successful as they lost 3-2. However, they put in a solid effort against one of the top teams in the league and managed to grab a single point from the overtime loss. They rebounded well on Saturday though, as they stood tall against Frölunda and came away with the 2-0 shutout victory. That game saw Daniel Marmenlind turn aside all 30 shots he faced for his first shutout of the season. The Redhawks now sit ninth overall with 21 points in 14 games played. They also pulled themselves out of the negative in the goals for and against category as they now sit at an even 40 gols for and 40 goals against.
Home and Home
This week featured a big home and home matchup as Leksand and Linköping faced off in a pair of games that would not dissapoint. The series kicked off on Thursday evening in Leksand. In his 200th SHL game, Linköpings Vilmos Gallo was able to score his first of the season late in the second period to give Linköping the 1-0 lead. However, Leksand would respond with a pair of quick goals early in the third period to take the 2-1 lead. Undaunted, Linköping would answer back courtesy Broc Little who was able to ripple the mesh on the powerplay with just over two minutes to go to tie the game and force the overtime period. The game would head to the shootout, after both teams failed to convert in overtime. The shootout would see just a single goal scored, coming from John Quenneville to give Leksand the big win at home.
Game two of the home and home was on Saturday afternoon in Linköping and this one was especially important for the home team as the Linköping fan club, the White Lions, were celebrating their 35th anniversary. Linköping was energetic and firing on all cylinders at home as they opened the flood gates in the second period. After a single goal in the first, they scored three goals in the first eight minutes of the second frame, jumping out to the big 4-0 lead. However, Leksand would make things interesting as a goal late in the second and a pair of goals in the third would pull them back within one. Unfortunately for them that's as close as they would come as Linköping would hold on for the 4-3 regulation win.
– Best match I've been part of in terms of atmosphere. We are coming off a negative trend, we were a bit nervous and convulsive but it was an extremely strong performance from the boys to tie the knot in the third period and fight at home for the three points. We get to enjoy this tonight, said Linköpings Arvid Costmar.
With the win, Linköping snapped a six game losing streak.
This weeks MVP comes from Färjestad and was the second highest point getter this week. Victor Ejdsell had himself a great week on the ice as he came away with five points in three games over the past seven days. He had a pair of assists in their 4-1 victory over HV71 on Tuesday evening. He potted a pair of goals, including the game winner in the shootout, against Malmö on Thursday. And he finished the week with a single assist in their overtime loss against the Lakers on Saturday. the 27 year old forward now has five goals and six assists in 15 games played this season.
Off Ice News
Fan favorite and Färjestad veteran Per Åslund has solidified his future with his longtime club this week. The 36 year old Åslund, who is in his 16th season with Färjestad signed a new two year deal this week with the only team he has ever played for in the SHL. Åslund has won three Le Mat trophies with Färjestad and other than a single season in Germany in 2015/16, he has played with Färjestad since 2006.
– We are very happy to keep the currently biggest symbol of what Färjestad BK stands for. In terms of quality, there is no doubt about what he contributes. He showed that, not least in the playoffs last spring. In that case, the only negative you can find with Per Åslund is his age, but he easily compensates for that in the way he prepares and focuses on the task, and he is also a fine role model for our younger players. We also know that he is very much appreciated by everyone who in some way follows Färjestad BK, says sports director Rickard Wallin.
Åslund led the playoffs last spring with 5 goals and 13 assists in Färjestads Championship run. He also won the Stefan Liv Memorial trophy as the playoffs most valuable player.
– I love competing and winning and to be able to continue doing that is what I wanted most of all, all along. I don't want to be in any other club, says Åslund
All in all he has played 713 regular season games and 118 playoff games with Färjestad throughout his long and celebrated career.