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One goal enough to put Linkoping into Quarters

Wild action in front of the Linkoping net, but Marcus Hogberg was unbeatable on Tuesday.
© IFK Helsinki/CHL via Getty Images

Thanks to an outstanding effort from goaltender Marcus Hogberg, one goal was all Linkoping HC needed to advance to the Quarter-Finals. Read more in Gamecentre.

by Steven Ellis, with contribution from Eero Hurmerinta

It wasn’t easy, but Linkoping HC will move on to the Champions Hockey League Quarter-Finals thanks to a 1-0 victory over IFK Helsinki on Tuesday, giving them a 2-1 win on aggregate. 

Linkoping was hoping the return of Top Scorer Broc Little to the roster would make the top line more effective to finish off the series, and it would be the first group that would make it 1-0 early. With 13:54 complete in the first, Garrett Roe was stopped by Kevin Lankinen on the power play, on to have the puck go to Little. Little’s shot then hit the post, only to have Niklas Persson and Andrew Gordon touch the puck in the crease. The disk eventually made it out to Roe again, who fired the shot into the empty cage and in for the opening marker.

“Both teams had scoring chances in both games but fortunately we were the one to get the final goal,” said Linkoping head coach Dan Tangnes.

For the second straight game, Linkoping’s goaltender Marcus Hogberg was the top performer. The young netminder stopped everything he faced in the first period, deflecting 13 shots away after IFK put everything they had on net. 

Hogberg took a shot to the mask with about five minutes left in second period, a play that likely scared his team on the bench. Fortunately, he wouldn’t miss any time and would stick in the crease, keeping the 1-0 lead in tact heading into the second intermission.

Helsinki tried their best to get something past Hogberg, but the 21-year-old puckstopper shut the door through 60 minutes of play. Even through a flurry of chances in the final two minutes for Helsinki, Hogberg stopped every single shot sent his way. He made 36 saves in a dominant goaltending effort, helping his team win the game and the series in the process.

“It feels good. We were outnumbered for almost whole game,” said Hogberg. “I don’t know how many shots our players blocked. The whole team played helped towards the win.”

“We just couldn’t score tonight. Getting the chances isn't good enough if you don’t score,” said IFK forward Roope Hintz.

“We want to win everything we compete in,” said Tangnes. “We’re happy to go through. It’s always nice to play playoff games, it’s good experience for the guys.”