As the 2013 European Trophy Finals began in Berlin, German hockey fans were given a rare treat as the opening matches featured four of the best teams from Scandinavia squaring off in the Wellblechpalast at Sportsforum Berlin.
Djurgårdens IF Falls to JYP
The opening game matched JYP of the SM-liiga against the storied Swedish franchise Djurgårdens IF. JYP qualified for the finals by winning the South Division, while Djurgårdens IF were winners of the East Division.
After a tightly contested first period in which the two teams were feeling each other out, neither side scored. The second period would prove to be the difference as JYP struck for three goals. JYP was the far more opportunistic team making the best of their chances, which included a back-braking shorthanded goal by Max Wärn to make the score 3-0.
Djurgårdens IF mistakes compounded with their inability to convert scoring chances would lead to their defeat. Besides a late third period tally, they were ineffective on the power play, hit the post and had costly turnovers. JYP would go on to win 3-1, meaning that a win against last year’s European Trophy Champion Luleå would guarantee them in the championship game against the winner of Group B, which features Eisbären Berlin, Färjestad BK and the Frölunda Indians.
JYP was lead by the strong play of goaltender Tuomas Tarkki who was named the games MVP, while Djurgårdens IF’s Mattias Guter was awarded the second star and JYP’s Max Wärn given the third.
Färjestad BK Defeats the Frölunda Indians
The second game of the evening featured two elite SHL teams in Färjestad BK and the Frölunda Indians. Färjestad BK won the West Division to
qualify for the finals while Frölunda was the top second place finisher. In SHL play, each team has won a game against the other on the road. Färjestad BK defeated Frölunda by a score of 3-1 before Frölunda evened the season series by winning in a shootout 3-2.
Unlike the first game, this one had action from the first puck drop. Frölunda broke the seal with a power play goal, but Färjestad BK would even the score less than a minute later. Frölunda would get themselves into trouble with their undisciplined play. Färjestad capitalized with two power play goals, including Milan Gulas’ second score of the game. Eventually, the Indians would settle down and score a power play goal of their own before the end of the second period to draw within one.
The third period was played to a good pace, but Frölunda couldn’t draw even. Eventually, Joakim Nygård scored on a breakway goal to allow Färjestad BK to pull away. After sealing the game with an empty-net goal, Färjestad would go on to win 5-2.
Mila Gulas’ hat trick earned him the MVP with Frölunda’s Robin Figren earning the second star and Färjestad’s Ole-Kristian Tollefsen earning the third star.
Friday the action shifts to the o2 World Arena as the reigning European Champions Luleå takes on JYP followed by the host Eisbären Berlin squaring off against Färjestad BK. Stayed tuned here on THW as well as follow me on Twitter as I’ll continue to report live from the event.