Home ice hasn’t been much of an advantage in the Elitserien playoffs as away teams have won more than half the games after three rounds of the league quarterfinals. Djurgården, Frölunda, Färjestad and HV 71 all hold 2-1 leads in the Elitserien quarterfinals.
by Chipp Reid
Djurgården, Frölunda, Färjestad and HV 71 all hold 2-1 leads in their series, but only Frölunda built its lead at home. The Indians, the No. 6 seed, are playing third-seeded Linköping and thanks to wins at home in Game 1 and an overtime win March 22 in Game 3.
Frölunda won Game 3 as Niklas Andersson scored the game-winning goal at 19:22 of the extra session. Tony Mårtensson put Linköping in front at 12:33 of the first period and LHC goalie Christian Engstrand made the lead stand up until Janne Niskala scored at 19:32 of the third period to tie the game. Engstrand made 49 saves in the game. Frölunda goalie Johan Holmqvist finished with 25 saves.
Frölunda opened the series with a win March 18 on home ice, beating Linköping 4-3 in overtime. Once again it was Andersson who got the winner in overtime, scoring 32 seconds into the extra session.
Linköping tied the series on its home ice with a 6-2 win March 20. Magnus Johansson had a pair of goals for LHC while four other players each had a goal. Linköping, however, lost the services of No. 1 goaltender Fredrik Norrenå, who received a game misconduct penalty for cross checking Frölunda winger Jens Karlsson in the head. The hit knocked Karlsson to the ice, where he lay for several minutes. The Swedish Ice Hockey Federation on March 22 suspended Norrena for three games and fined him 20,000 kronor.
Regular season champions HV 71 ruined the home ice advantage for Timrå as it took Game 1 in overtime March 18 at the E. ON Arena. Jukka Voutilainen scored the game winner at 6:09 of overtime. HV 71 needed overtime again on March 20 as it knocked off Timrå 3-2 at the Kinnarps Arena in Jönköping.
Kris Beech scored the game winner at 2:04 of the extra session.
Timrå showed signs of life March 22 as it beat HV 6-2 in Timrå. Martin Sonnenberg had a hat trick for Timrå.
The home team has yet to win in the series between Djurgården and Brynäs as DIF has won both games in Gävle against the Tigers. Gustaf Wesslau turned aside all 22 shots he faced as DIF blanked Brynäs 4-0 March 22 at the Läkerol Arena in Gävle.
Djurgården also took Game 1, at the Läkerol, 4-3 as Jimmie Ölvestad scored twice to lead DIF to the win.
Brynäs claimed its lone win in overtime in Game 2 at the Hovet in Stockholm. Jonathan Granström scored the game winner at 6:19 of overtime for the Tigers.
Defending league champions Färjestad has had its hands full with Skellefteå, losing on home ice in Game 1 before bouncing back to win two straight. Kent McDonnell scored the game-winning goal for SAIC at 14:23 of the third period after the two teams traded goals in the opening session.
The Wolfpack spoiled Skellefteå’s home-ice advantage March 20 with a 3-2 in overtime at the Kraft Arena. Dragan Umicevic scored the winning goal at 7:53 of the extra session.
Färjestad and Skellefteå went to overtime again March 22 in Game 3 back at the Löfbergs Lila Arena in Karlstad. Lubos Bartecko struck the winner at 4:05 of overtime. Johan Forsberg had a hat trick for Skellefteå, giving him four goals total in the series.
The best-of-7 playoffs began on the home ice of the lower seeded team and continue March 24.
Niklas Andersson celebrates as he scores past Christian Engstand in overtime to lead Frölunda to a 2-1 win over Linköping March 22 in the Elitserien playoffs. Bildbyrån photo