Brynäs took a 3-1 lead in its series with Färjestad while AIK pulled level in its series with Skellefteå.
The Brynäs Tigers have literally roared to life in the semifinals of the hockey Elitserien playoffs. After polishing off Frolunda in five games, the Tigers are ready to dispatch the Wolfpack following their 3-0 win in Game 4. The victory gave Brynäs an almost insurmountable 3-1 series lead.
Brynäs goalie Niklas Svedberg was the hero of Game 4 as he stopped 26 shots to notch his first shutout of the series. Färjestad, playing front of a sellout crowd at the Lofbergs Lila Arena in Karlstad, never got untracked against Svedberg, who pushed aside nine first-period shots.
Joachim Rhodin put the Tigers up 1-0 at 11:44 of the second period, and that was all Svedberg needed. Brynäs added two third-period goals and now has the defending champions on the ropes. The series shifts back to Gävle April 3.
Färjestad took the first game of the series when Patrik Lundh scored at 2:33 of the second overtime period to give the Wolfpack a 3-2 victory. Brynäs took the next two games by 4-2 scores.
AIK tied its semifinal with Skellefteå with a 5-3 win April 1 at the Globe Arena. Robert Rosen, who led the league in scoring, scored his first goal of the season at 15:28 of the third period to put the Gnaget up 4-3. Daniel Rudslatt made the score 5-3 at 18:38 of the third to ice the win for AIK.
AIK took Game 1 of the series with a 4-1 win. Skellefteå, the No. 2 seed in the playoffs, won the next two games, beating AIK 5-3 in Game 2 and 5-1 in Game 3.
The series shifts back to Skellefteå April 3.
By Chipp Reid
AIK center Kent McDonnell swipes in the third goal of AIK's 5-3 win over Skellefteå in Game 4 of the hockey Elitserien playoffs.