As most of you know, last Wednesday was the start of the quarter-final playoffs in the SDHL After we came in 2nd in the regular season, we were to face-off against AIK in the first round, who ranked 7th. Lulea faced-off against Brynäs, Modo against Leksand and Djurgarden against HV71.
It was actually the first time since I play in this league, that the playoff pairings were done like that. Previously, the first ranked team could pick a team that they want to play that was ranked 5 – 8. Once the first ranked picked, it would be the second ranked team’s turn to pick… The same would be done for the semi-final pairings, best ranked team could pick who to play against for the semi-final. I always thought that was very weird, so I was happy now that they changed that for this season.
In our league, we play a best-of-3 playoff series, but if you are the better ranked team, you have your first game away and then 2 home games. To me, this is very strange as well and I still can’t get used to it. 😊 So for us being the second ranked team, we made our way to Stockholm to face off against AIK last Wednesday in the first game.
The first game was not a good game from our side. I think we were very nervous and didn’t know what to expect of AIK since we haven’t played them in quite some time. On top of that, the luck really wasn’t on our side, we had a couple shots off the post and some really good chances that we just couldn’t capitalize on. We ended up losing that game 1-0 and were therefore with our backs against the wall for the second game of the series.
We had Thursday off from practice, which was good to recover and recoup the mind. Friday evening we had a workout and a practice. The workout was a rather quick one, with only 3 weight exercises that were all executed explosively for the quick legs. The practice had a strong focus on the things we didn’t do well in the game on Wednesday, so that we could gain back our confidence for Saturday’s game.
Saturday, game #2, do-or-die. I was nervous and I told myself, I’m not ready for my season to be done yet. I wanted to play the best game of the entire season and be the strong backbone this team needs. Well, haha, that didn’t turn out the way I wanted. We got scored on 10 minutes into the game and were behind 1-0. Were we crestfallen? No, we got right back up and scored shortly before the end of the first period to tie up the game. Once we scored that goal, it was like the knot finally opened, and we were able to score one goal after the other. The final score was 4-1 and we were headed to the game #3 in this playoff series.
After the game, we had a team dinner at a sports bar in Linköping. It was a nice evening and felt good to hang out with the team and fuel up for the next day.
Sunday, game #3, do-or-die. Unlike Saturday, I was not nervous at all. I knew we got this, and yet again, I was not ready for the season to be over yet. Not once since after the game on Saturday did I doubt that we would not win that game #3 on Sunday. I’m pretty sure that the rest of the team had the same feeling than I did. We came out strong from the first second of the game and did not give up any chances for AIK to become dangerous. On the other hand, we created many good chances and were able to win the last game 5-0.
With that win, we punched a semi-final ticket along with Lulea, Djurgarden and Modo. Semi-final pairings are Lulea – Djurgarden, Linköping – Modo. 4 incredibly competitive teams and I’m extremely excited for this series to start tomorrow!
Keep your fingers crossed!