April 1st 2019, playoff semifinals game 6 of 7
Stavanger Oilers vs Storhamar 1-3 FINAL
(0-0, 0-2, 1-1)
The first period in Stavanger was a tough, close but scoreless affair. The Oilers came out hard and put pressure on the Yellows, and Oskar Östlund had to come up with a couple of good saves during the first phase. An early powerplay gave the hosts some momentum in offence, but a solid boxplay by Storhamar made sure they couldn’t capitalize on it. A couple of brawls erupted as well, and the Yellows were a bit fortunate not to go down to 3 on 5 when Patrick Thoresen and Jacob Lagacé had an internal «thing» in which Thoresen might have been a bit too rough. But the refs didn’t catch it, and the game went on. Storhamar equalized the run of play as the minutes went along, but never managed to really challenge Henrik Holm between the pipes except for a couple of times during a powerplay.
Storhamar were a notch better than the hosts during the middle act and had most of the run of play. A pair of goals came out of it as well, to send the Yellows to the second break with a two goal cushion. Both of the tallies came during the dying minutes of an intense period, the first when the third liners had a huge shift in the O-zone which ended in a great behind-the-back pass from Mikael Zettergren to Niklas Fogström. The Finn beat Henrik Holm on the near side. The second goal came just a long minute later when an odd man rush resulted in a Christian Larrivée snapper on the far side at the end of a delicious backhand saucer pass from Victor Svensson. Storhamar had got a great ending to a period in which they were the better team but without being able to beat Holm. Earlier in the frame, both Robin Dahlstrøm and Zettergren challenged him from point blank range, and the «south paw» goalie also made some huge saves on other chances. At the other end Östlund also had to break some sweat, but in general he was never really challenged.
The Oilers got off to a great start in the third when they cut the lead in half only 42 seconds into it. Storhamar struggled to clear the zone, and Stavanger capitalized on it with a onetimer from Gregory Mauldin from the high slot. His shot hit the post, then Östlund from behind, until it found its way into the back of the net. The hosts got momentum and a huge buzz that lasted until they got a powerplay six minutes into it. In the one man advantage the tempo was slowed down, Storhamar held them off without too much bother, and Stavanger never came up to the same standard again. The Yellows equalized the run of play and also mostly kept the white dressed home team on the outside. The clock ran down pretty fast, and four minutes before the horn, when the Oilers were getting more desperate, Steffen Thoresen struck hard to send the Yellows back into a two goal advantage. An odd man rush set Thoresen up at the circle, and he fired a slapper that went straight into the far top corner. That goal seemed to kill Stavanger’s fire, and Storhamar could hold them off for the rest of the game without too much trouble.
At the final buzzer Storhamar could cheer for a 4-2 win in the best-of-seven series, and thereby secured a place in the Kings Cup finals versus Frisk Asker. The Yellows also have the home ice advantage against the surprising upset team from Asker, a team that was ranked fifth before the playoffs.