HF Lulea defenseman ROBIN JAKOBSSON, the 26-year-old signed this past off-season from Allsvenskan (second division) side IF Tingsryd, attempts to disrupt puck-carrying BK Farjestad Karlstad left wing MARTIN RYDMARK (23), the 26-year-old who has represented Norway at six major international tournaments (38 ga, 2 go, 6 pts) in his career and was acquired this summer from Elitserien outfit IK Timra, during the all-Swedish Final of the 2012 Red Bull Salute – European Trophy at the Slovnaft Arena in Bratislava, Slovakia.
A pair of goals from seasoned Finnish import JOONAS VIHKO and flawless netminding from veteran DAVID RAUTIO were more than enough to enable Swedish club HF LULEA to shutout fellow-Elitserien side BK FARJESTAD KARLSTAD 2-0 in the FINAL of the 2012 RED BULL SALUTE – EUROPEAN TROPHY competiton and lift the silverware as well as collect the prize money of 50,000 Euros.
Vihko, the 31-year-old veteran who was selected in the fourth round (# 103 overall) of the 2002 National Hockey League Draft by the Anaheim Ducks, grabbed his first goal on the power play the 11:15 mark of the first period. This after experienced left wing BK Farjestad Karlstad CHRISTIAN BERGLUND, the 32-year-old who skated 86 NHL games (11 go, 27 pts) for the New Jersey Devils and Florida Panthers once upon a time, had gone to the penalty box for interference exactly halfway through the first period. Right wing LINUS PERSSON, the 26-year-old who signed from second division IK Bofors Karlskoga this past summer, and JOHAN FRANSSON, the 27-year-old defenseman who was selected in the second round (# 34 overall) of the 2004 NHL Draft by the Dallas Stars, picked up the assists for the northern-most club in the entire Swedish elite league.
After scoring an all-important first goal, HF Lulea, who are currently standing third in the 12-team Elitserien table, were able to adopt the cautious and conservative tactics that are not foreign to Swedish ice hockey to begin with. BK Farjestad Karlstad, who ranked fourth in the domestic top flight heading into the 2012 Red Bull Salute – European Trophy Finals, actually did have almost a minute of a 5-on-3 power play to work with late in the first period. And the green-shirted side might have equalized, as well, were it not for the fine efforts of a focused Rautio.
Finnish import SAMI SANDELL (40), the 25-year-old left wing who played two seasons of Canadian junior for the Brandon Wheat Kings in Western Hockey League, watches as in-form netminder DAVID RAUTIO (1), the former Sweden U-20 international who had played less than half of HF Lulea’s matches (12 of 32) in the Elitserien this season but, nevertheless, does boast the best save percentage (.947) in the entire domestic top flight, turns aside another shot from BK Farjestad Karlstad during the all-Swedish Final of the 2012 Red Bull Salute – European Trophy staged at the Slovnaft Arena in Slovan, Bratislava.
BK Farjestad Karlstad, who already earned 25,000 Euros by winning the West Division in the qualification round of the 2012 European Trophy tournament and were guaranteed at least another 10,000 Euros just by reaching the Final of the Red Bull Salute, had another opportunity with the two-man advantage on the power play in the second period, also, but were again frustrated by the work of both Rautio and the HF Lulea defense.
The very best chance for BK Farjestad Karlstad to level occurred roughly five and a half minutes into the third period when Rautio was finally beaten by the rising shot of veteran RICKARD WALLIN, who previously contested 79 NHL games (79 ga, 8 go, 19 pts) for the Minnesota Wild and Toronto Maple Leafs in his career. But the puck clanked off the iron and away to safety, as far as HF Lulea was concerned at least. So, no luck for the 32-year-old center who has represented Sweden at the annual IIHF World Championships on five occasions (45 ga, 6 go, 14 pts), then.
A goaltending mistake essentially ended the contest in HF Lulea’s favor once and for all with just under seven minutes remaining to be played. Ironically enough, the normal first string netminder for BK Farjestad Karlstad, ALEXANDER SALAK, was on duty for the national team of the Czech Republic at the Channel One Cup (old Izvestia Trophy) in Russia and unavailable for the Red Bull Salute tournament. And so Vihko, who has scored just two goals in 31 Swedish Elitserien matches for HF Lulea this 2012/13 season, was gifted a second goal when BK Farjestad’s reserve shot-stopper FREDERIK PETTERSSON-WENTZEL bascially gave the puck right to the Finnish import by virtue of careless play.
HF Lulea defenseman ROBIN JONSSON, the 29-year-old veteran who was selected in the fourth round (# 120 overall) by the St. Louis Blues at the 2002 NHL Draft, and BK Farjestad Karlstad MARIUS HOLTET (12), the 28-year-old right wing who was drafted in the second round (# 42 overall) at that same 2002 NHL Draft and has appeared with the national team of Norway at seven major international events (37 ga, 11 go, 18 pts) in his career, mix it up during the Final of the 2012 Red Bull Salute – European Trophy at the Slovnaft Arena in Bratislava, Slovakia.
HF Lulea trainer JONAS RONNQVIST chose Rautio, who normally plays second-fiddle for HF Lulea in the Elitserien to the talented youngster JOHAN GUSTAFSSON, to start the Red Bull Salute Final in Bratislava and would not regret that decision one bit; overall, BK Farjestad Karlstad would go on to outshoot their Swedish elite league rivals by the margin of 35-28 but Rautio proved himself equal to every task and had the good fortune, to boot.
It had been Gustafsson, the 20-year-old youngster who was taken in the sixth round (# 159 overall) at the 2010 NHL Draft by the Minnesota Wild, who had pitched the 2-0 shutout in the Red Bull Salute semifinal victory over the host UPC Vienna Capitals at the Albert Schultz Halle in Vienna; Gustafsson went undefeated in three matches for HF Lulea (1.33 avg, .943 save percentage) during the qualification round of the 2012 European Trophy tournament
Rautio was awarded one star by tournament officials for his performance in the Final at Bratislava. BK Farjestad Karlstad’s Canadian legionnaire CHRIS LEE, the 32-year-old who was chosen as the best defenseman in the Deutsche Eishockey Liga for Adler Mannheim last season, was awarded two stars by the powers that be. Not surprising, the two-goal Vihko was given three stars as the game’s most valuable player.
MIKO PYORALA, the Finnish import who skated 36 NHL contests for the Philadelphia Flyers (2 go, 4 pts) during the 2009/10 campaign, proved himself to be a nice addition for HF Lulea after signing from Russian club Amur Khabarovsk (25 ga, 5 go, 10 pts) of the Kontinental Hockey League in mid-November. The 31-year-old left wing is, of course, well-experienced having represented Finland at five IIHF World Championships (41 ga, 3 go, 8 pts). Pyorala, who has recorded two goals and five points in ten Elitserien contests this term, notched a huge strike for HF Lulea in the Red Bull Salute quarterfinal contest against Swedish side IF Brynas Galve at the Albert Schultz Halle in Vienna, Austria.
Finnish import JOONAS VIHKO (20, center), the former IFK Helsinki, Saipa Lappenranta and HPK Hameenlinna skater who finished with four goals and six in ten European Trophy contests this season — including three goals at the 2012 Red Bull Salute tournament — receives hearty congratuations from his HF Lulea teammates after lighting the lamp at the Slovnaft Arena in Bratislava, Slovakia, as BK Farjestad Karlstad reserve netminder FREDERIK PETTERSSON-WENTZEL (background) stands dejected during the Final of 2012 Red Bull Salute – Euorpean Trophy competition.
HF LULEA (SWEDEN) – 2012 European Trophy results
5-2 … HC Ceske Budejovice (Czech Republic)
7-2 … EHC Red Bull Salzburg (Austria)
3-1 … Karpat Oulu (Finland)
6-2 … HC Brno (Czech Republic)
4-1 … HC Plzen (Czech Republic)
4-2 … Karpat Oulu (Finland)
4-1 … Hamburg Freezers (Germany)
0-2 … Eisbaeren Berlin (Germany)
4-3 … IF Brynas Galve (Sweden) ……………… Red Bull Salute Quarterfinal
2-0 … UPC Vienna Capitals (Austria) …………. Red Bull Salute Semifinal
2-0 … BK Farjestad Karlstad (Sweden) ………. Red Bull Salute Final