Archive for Swe – HF Lulea

Red Bull Salute Final – HF Lulea Blanks BK Farjestad Karlstad To Lift European Trophy


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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.
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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.

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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.
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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.

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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.
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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.

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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.
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HF LULEA (SWEDEN) – 2012 European Trophy results
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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

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Eisbaeren Berlin Secure Big Victory In Sweden


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It always looked to be a daunting task for the two-time defending German champion, then. A long trip to northern Sweden followed by a vital European Trophy away match against an unbeaten opponent who are currently skating second in the crack Elitserien. The impossible mission at hand was crystal clear — in order to qualify for the Red Bull Salute final tournament, visiting EISBAEREN BERLIN would need to return with at least one point at the expense of formidable host HF LULEA.

HF Lulea, who were originally founded in 1977, are the second-youngest club currently competing in the 12-team Swedish elite league but have been a regular fixture in the top flight ever since the 1984/85 campaign and celebrated the club’s one and only Elitserien title to date at the end of the 1995/96 season. Last season, the northern side finished in first place at the end of the Elitserien regular season but would be eliminated at the quarterfinal stage of the playoffs. HF Lulea are trained by one of its former players in JONAS RONNQVIST, the 39-year-old former Sweden international left wing who previously skated in 38 games (0 go, 4 pts) for the Anaheim Mighty Ducks during the 2000/01 National Hockey League season and, only a few years later, was forced to retire early on account of injury.

Ronnqvist’s squad, which won all seven of its European Trophy contests heading into the home match with visiting Eisbaeren Berlin, is not exactly loaded with Sweden national team players but does boast two former NHL skaters and eight others who were drafted at some point by NHL teams.

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Eisbaeren Berlin’s star Canadian legionnaire CLAUDE GIROUX (28), who scored three goals and added six assists for nine points in his first four games in the Deutsche Eishockey Liga, was unexpectedly forced to make his professional debut in Sweden sans his National Hockey League sidekick from the Philadelphia Flyers, high-scoring right wing DANNY BRIERE.
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Furthermore, HF Lulea were able to send out a full compliment of 22 players in uniform, including the two goaltenders, for the critical contest in the European Trophy’s North Division. However, American trainer DON JACKSON only had 19 men available to don the sweaters for visiting Eisbaeren Berlin. This because one of the German capital city club’s two exiled NHL superstars, DANNY BRIERE, came down with a cold after graciously consenting to a lengthy press conference put on by the welcoming Swedish media upon the pair’s arrival in country.

Aside from Briere, the visitors were also without their captain for the big European Trophy clash with host HF Lulea as Eisbaeren Berlin captain ANDRE RANKEL, the Germany national team winger who had a goal and two assists in the preceding rout of Iserlohn Roosters just two days earlier, was out with a minor injury.

Perhaps it was the gravity of the circumstances or maybe it was just the overall quality of the Swedish Elitserien opponents. Whatever the case, for the very first time since the two locked-out Philadelphia Flyers began appearing with Eisbaeren Berlin in the Deutsche Eishockey Liga, Jackson dressed six natural defensemen for the crucial match with HF Lulea. The D.E.L.’s four-game suspension recently issued to Canadian legionnaire MARK KATIC (who leads all defensemen in the 32-team European Trophy with nine points) does not apply to international tournament, of course.

Defenseman HENRY HAASE, the 20-year-old who skated in all seven of Eisbaeren Berlin’s contests in the European Trophy earlier this season, regained his place in the trainer Jackson’s team and, in fact, made his first appearance in uniform since the highly-publicized signing of the talented Philadelphia Flyers pair.

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Eisbaeren Berlin’s imported American blueliner JIMMY SHARROW (3), who continues to lead all defenseman in the entire European Trophy tournament with five goals for the German capital city club, keeps an eye on both the puck and HF Lulea winger LINUS KLASEN (86), the undrafted 26-year-old who scored 22 goals (45 points) in 47 American Hockey League games for the Milwaukee Admirals and also made four appearances (0 go, 0 pts) in the NHL for the Nashville Predators two seasons ago, during the European Trophy contest at the Copp Arena in northern Sweden … reportedly, Klasen has a contract with HF Lulea which is actually being paid out by previous employers IF Malmo Redhawks but still earns the winger a salary of 4.0 million Swedish Krona (roughly $ 594,790 today in the United States) per year and that is the most lucrative deal in all the land.
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HF Lulea happen to have two standout shot-stoppers on the roster at the moment who have been splitting time equally in both the European Trophy and Elitserien competitions this season. 20-year-old JOHAN GUSTAFSSON was selected in the sixth round (# 159 overall) of the 2010 National Hockey League Draft by the Minnesota Wild and, last winter, appeared in five games (2.20 avg) for the Sweden side which won the gold medal at the 2012 IIHF World Junior Championships in the western Canadian province of Alberta. For the European Trophy contest with visiting Eisbaeren Berlin, though, the trainer Ronnqvist chose experience and named 27-year-old DAVID RAUTIO as his starting netminder.

Eisbaeren Berlin, as could be expected, went with Germany national team veteran ROB ZEPP, the 31-year-old native Canadian and two-time National Hockey League draft pick who has seen his goals-against-average in the D.E.L. balloon this term but does have four Deutsche Eishockey Liga titles to his credit and also backstopped the capital city club to the Red Bull Salute title in 2010.

And so, the classic goaltending duel / defensive struggle was all set to get underway at the Copp Arena in northern Sweden.

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A solitary hockey fan sits comfortably behind the net defended by HF Lulea starting goaltender DAVID RAUTIO (1), who appeared in four games (3.95 avg) for Sweden at the 2005 IIHF World Junior Championships held in the United States, during the critical European Trophy contest featuring visiting reigning German champion Eisbaeren Berlin at the Copp Arena in northern Sweden.
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The opening period was very closely-contested, to be certain, with both teams generating a combined total of just nine shots on target for the whole of the first twenty-minute session. Eisbaeren Berlin, as one might imagine, were hoping for a bit of magic from star Canadian legionnaire CLAUDE GIROUX, the creative, 24-year-old center whose 93 points (28 goals) for the Philadelphia Flyers was third-highest total in the entire 30-team National Hockey League last season. HF Lulea, on the other hand, boasted five NHL draft picks on the blueline who were more than happy to test their mettle against Eisbaeren’s world-class player.

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HF Lulea defenseman JOHAN FRANSSON (10), the 2nd round selection (# 34 overall) of the Dallas Stars at the 2004 National Hockey League Draft who represented Sweden at both the 2004 and 2005 IIHF World Junior Championships, fires a low puck in on the Eisbaeren Berlin net guarded by Germany national team goaltender ROB ZEPP during the decisive but certainly low-scoring European Trophy contest at the Copp Arena.
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The scoreless stalemate continued long after the first intermission at the Copp Arena ended, as well. Understrength Eisbaeren Berlin, despite having three fewer skaters on the bench, not only held their own but definitely had at least as much of the play in the second period, as evidenced by the official 9-6 statistic (according to the website of the European Trophy) in the influential shots-on-goal department. Finally, with little more than than four minutes remaining until the Zamboni came out to clean the ice for a second time that evening, the 70 or so Eisbaeren Berlin fans who had made the long journey from the German capital got the very thing they had come so far to see.

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HF Lulea defenseman LUKAS KILSTROM (5), the 22-year-old who appeared in all six games for bronze medalist Sweden at the 2010 IIHF World Junior Championships hosted by the western Canadian province of Saskatchewan, seeks to confront Eisbaeren Berlin’s star Canadian legionnaire CLAUDE GIROUX (28) along the boards during the critical European Trophy contest at the Copp Arena in northern Scandinavia.
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The nimble Giroux made a nifty play to get the puck to Germany national team defenseman CONSTANTIN BRAUN, the sixth round pick (# 164 overall) at the 2006 NHL Draft by the current Stanley Cup champion Los Angeles Kings. A big blast from the blue line by the 24-year-old rearguard, playing just his third competitive match after returning from injury, beat HF Lulea goaltender DAVID RAUTIO and caught the top corner of the net to give Eisbaeren Berlin an enormous 1-0 lead at the 35:51 mark of the big European Trophy match. A clutch second goal in as many contests for the experienced Braun, then.

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HF Lulea defenseman JAN SANDSTROM (7), the 34-year-old veteran who was tabbed in the sixth round (# 173 overall) of the 1999 National Hockey League Draft by the Anaheim Mighty Ducks but never did try his hand at professional hockey in North America, prepares to fish the puck out of the net as Eisbaeren Berlin forward T.J. MULOCK (15), the 2010 Germany Olympic squad veteran who currently ranks second in scoring for this European Trophy tournament with 12 points, is about to join goal-scorer Constantin Braun and the rest of his teammates at the Copp Arena in Sweden.
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HF Lulea netminder DAVID RAUTIO (1), the seasoned 27-year-old whose sparkling 1.23 goal-against-average (eight games) leads all shot-stoppers in the crack Swedish Elitserien this term, gestures after giving up a late second period strike during the important European Trophy contest with visiting Eisbaeren Berlin at the Copp Arena.
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Germany national team defenseman CONSTANTIN BRAUN (center) is jubilant after scoring the go-ahead goal for visiting Eisbaeren Berlin late in the second period of the critical North Division contest with host HF Lulea at the Copp Arena in northern Sweden; joining in the well-earned celebration are Canadian superstar CLAUDE GIROUX (28), who collected an assist on his debut in the 2012 Euroepan Trophy tournament, youthful defenseman THOMAS SUPIS (6) as well as Eisbaeren assistant captain T.J. MULOCK (A).
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In some respects, the visitors’ work had just begun — particularly after Eisbaeren Berlin’s veteran Germany national team defenseman FRANK HOERDLER was sent off for hooking at 19:28 of the second period. But, as was the case when Denmark international MADS CHRISTENSEN was put in the penalty box at the beginning of the middle frame, HF Lulea did not not muster much of a threat on the ensuing power play. The visitors, it should be noted, played a very disciplined game in Sweden and took only two minor penalties in the do-or-die European Trophy encounter.

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HF Lulea center KIM HIRSCHOVITS (44), the 30-year-old veteran who was selected by the New York Rangers in the sixth round (# 194 overall) of the 2002 National Hockey League Draft, gets his stick up high on visiting goaltender ROB ZEPP (72) as Eisbaeren Berlin defenseman JENS BAXMANN (29) struggles to control the Swedish attacker from behind during the pivotal European Trophy match at the Copp Arena.
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HF Lulea applied a tremendous amount of pressure in the third and final period but were unable to break down the Berlin defensive wall. Ronnqvist’s charges thoroughly controlled the traffic and went on to enjoy a 10-3 advantage in the shots-on-goal category but could not successfully solve the in-form Eisbaeren netminder. Zepp, who also posted a shutout in the German capital city club’s last European Trophy match against visiting Finnish side Karpat Oulu at the O2 World Arena Berlin in early September, wound up with 21 saves and a clean sheet on his evening in front of 4,235 mostly-Swedish spectators at the Copp Arena.

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Giroux, meanwhile, might have sewn the match up once and for all when the NHL superstar found himself all alone in front of the net with just two and half minutes remaining on the clock but the determined Rautio had other ideas about surrender … the exiled Philadelphia Flyers center would, though, have a huge impact on the play that did turn the lights out for HF Lulea.

After Eisbaeren Berlin iced the puck at the 17:56 mark of the third period, the Swedish trainer Ronnqvist called for timeout to organize the HF Lulea attack — and exchange the goaltender with a sixth skater for the offensive zone draw.

Giroux was able to win that vital faceoff in the defensive third, however, and soon both Germany Olympic veteran T.J. MULOCK and Hoerdler had worked the puck to Canadian legionnaire JULIAN TALBOT in the neutral zone. The seasoned 27-year-old forward, who tallied 21 goals in all competitions for Eisbaeren Berlin last season after leaving the Lake Erie Monsters of the American Hockey League in the summer of 2011, then shot the black disc into the empty net from behind the red line at center ice. Talbot’s third goal of this European Trophy tournament formally punched the defending Detusche Eishockey Liga champion’s ticket to the Red Bull Salute.

Fitting, then, that it was Talbot who had scored two goals in Eisbaeren Berlin’s 6-4 triumph over Czech Republic side HC Plzen to begin this 2012 European Trophy campaign.

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No one can really say for sure whether or not the ‘Lock-out’ situation that has currently paralyzed the National Hockey League on the other side of the Atlantic Ocean in North America will be resolved by mid-December. Nevertheless, newly-arrived NHL superstar CLAUDE GIROUX has already performed a great service to his new EISBAEREN BERLIN club by helping the team qualify for the Red Bull Salute final tournament with a standout effort in the European Trophy contest against host HF Lulea on the road in Sweden. Officially speaking, Giroux was selected as the game’s third star (the two HF Lulea defensemen, Johan Fransson and Lukas Kilstrom, were selected as the second and first stars, respectively).

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