Don’t look now but Färjestad is back in the semifinals and that can only mean one thing – the Karlstad team has its sights set on winning the Elitserien title.
Färjestad reached the semifinals for a record 16th time when it breezed past Modo in five games. The Wolfpack clinched their series March 29 with a 1-0 overtime victory. First-line center Rickard Wallin tallied 57 seconds into overtime to lift Färjestad to the win. Färjestad fired 40 shots on goal in what was an exceedingly tight game. Each team had just three penalties. Modo goalie Linus Ullmark was on top of his game as he steered aside 39 straight shots before Wallin’s poke-in of a Marcus Paulsson shot. Färjestad goalie Alexander Sajak stopped all 26 Modo shots to collect his first shutout in the playoffs.
Färjestad has reached the finals nine times since 1991, winning the title four times. For it to win a fifth Le Mat trophy, however, the Wolfpack will have to overcome top-seeded Skellefteå, which swept past 2011-12 champions Brynäs in four games. Skellefteå finished atop the regular season standings with 112 points. Färjestad was second with 102 points.
Linköping also advanced fairly easily, dispatching HV 71 in five games. Linköping clinched its series March 21 with a 6-1 victory in Jönköping. It was a night to forget for Blue Bulls goalie Gustaf Wesslau, who allowed the first three Linköping goals on just six shots in the first period. In all, Linköping only had 16 shots on goal while HV 71 threw 35 at Andreas Andersson in the Linköping net.
Robin Figren, Johannes Salmonsson and Pär Albrandt scored in the third period to give Linköping a 3-0 lead. Patrik Zachrisson and Albrant scored in the second period to put Linköping up 5-0. Patrik Carlsson finally beat Andersson to get HV 71 on the scoreboard, but Simon Hjalmarsson made sure Linköping would keep its five-goal lead.
Linköping now awaits the winner of the Luleå-Frölunda series. Luleå holds a 3-2 edge after a 4-1 win March 21 at the COOP Arena in Luleå. Linus Persson broke open a close game when he scored twice in the third period to lead Linköping to the win. LHC went into the third period clutching a 1-0 lead thanks to a first-period goal from Peter Cehlarik. Persson struck a 13:49 of the third to put Linköping in front 2-0. Brendan Bell scored at 16:48 of the third to cut the lead to 2-1. The Indians pulled goalie Julius Hudacek with 1:10 left to play and Linköping was quick to take advantage of the empty net. Persson scored at 19:26 and Niklas Olausson found the net at 19:52 to round out the win.
The series continues March 23 at the Scandinavium in Göteborg. Game 7, if necessary, is set for March 25 at the COOP.
by Chipp Reid