HV71, Lukko, Linköping finish Friday win narrow wins
Three Nordic teams wrapped up the Friday schedule with closely-contested wins. Swedish clubs HV71 Jönköping and Linköping HC both won at home, while Lukko Rauma won in Nottingham.
Erik Christensen scored 2 goals, both assisted by Björn Melin, to pace HV71 to a home-ice victory in Jönköping over the Kloten Flyers. Andreas Jämtin gave HV71 a 3-1 lead with 8:23 left in the third period, but Vincent Praplan's second of the game just over a minute later brought Kloten back to within one. They went for the equaliser on a late power play, but were unable to do it.
"I'm really pleased with the way my team played tonight, at least most of the time," said HV71 head coach Andreas Johansson. "I got the answers I was looking for and everyone was playing together as a team."
In the much-anticipated CHL debut of the Nottingham Panthers, they fell behind 2-0 in the first period to visiting Lukko Rauma, battled back to tie it in the second, but then fell in the third. Steve Lee scored both Notthingham goals, but then made a costly turnover in the 45th minute that led to Jerry Ahtola's winning goal.
"Everyone believes in the team that’s out there," said Lee afterward. "It’s tough to adjust to such a high standard of hockey, especially for guys who have never played at that level. The first 10 minutes, it was hard, but then you start to get used to things and gain confidence after little things like a good shift. We know the speed of the game and the level of excellence we are going to have to bring each shift, each period, each game."
A goal and assist each from Mats Sjögren and Broc Little put Linköping in front 2-0 with 13 minutes left in regulation time. Pardubice got a goal from Radoslav Tybor on a breakaway just 44 seconds later, though, and came with their best offensive push after that. The home side held them off though for the 2-1 win.
"It's too bad we didn't get at least a point because we had chances," said Pardubice goaltender Tomas Halasz, who held his team in for most of the game with 36 saves. "Linköping was better for two periods, but after that second goal I didn't have any work to do. We got the one goal back quickly, but unfortunately we failed to get another. But the way we played is certainly nothing to be ashamed of."