In the second game of the SHL final, Frölunda came charging out of the gate, setting up a high tempo pace, and this time Skellefteå was up to the challenge.
In order to support back up goalkeeper Erik Hanses, Skellefteå kept Frölunda away form the high-quality areas, forcing them to play a perimeter and cycling game. In doing so, they blocked a plethora of shots, a staggering 44 in all.
Canadiens' prospect Artturi Lehkonen had a great chance to get Frölunda on the board early, but his shot was saved by Hanses. The next time Lehkonen came in on an attack, he and teammate Ryan Lasch got caught behind the play, and Skellefteå scored the important go-ahead goal in a lightning quick counter strike.
While Frölunda controlled a lot of the possession, Skellefteå's 1-0 lead didn't feel out of place. Early in the second period, first-pairing defenceman Lukas Bengtsson took a puck to the head, and had to leave for stitches. During his time in the dressing room, Skellefteå's Erik Forsell scored on yet another counter attack, earning a goal on a shot that Gustafsson should have saved. Lehkonen was on the ice again for the goal, but at this time there was nothing he could have done to prevent it.
Although Frölunda continued to press, but they were kept off the board. Halfway through the period, the undrafted Sebastian Aho pounced on a lose puck to make it 3-0, which prompted Axel Homlström to express his support of the stalwart defender:
En av dom bästa backarna i sitt 3e SM-slutspel som 19 åring, draftad? Näääädå han är ju KORT!!! #logik— Axel Holmström (@axelholma) April 17, 2016
(One of the best defenders in his third playoffs as a 19 year old, drafted? Nooooo he is too SHORT!!! #Logic)
Skellefteå controlled the game in the same ways they had before the goal and, by the dying seconds of the second period, they had another puck in the net. However, the clock favoured Frölunda, as the goal was a tenth of a second too late and did not count.
Three goals down, and with only a period to go, Roger Rönnberg mixed up the lines. Lehkonen took advantage of an ensuing powerplay, using his incredible shot to score for the home side. The goal revitalized the crowd, and the team, for a few minutes, but unfortunately they were unable to build on it.
Following Lehkone's goal, Pär Lindholm put together the sneakiest play of the game, stealing the puck at the blue line and deeking two players, before scoring a highlight goal to make it 4-1 for Skellefteå.
Frölunda pulled their goalkeeper, but nothing more came of it. Before the end of the game, Lehkonen tried to cut the lead in half, but Hanses again made a great save. The teams will head back to Skellefteå for the next matchup on Tuesday, tied 1-1 in the series.
It remains to see if Rönnberg can outsmart Wallson in the coaching department in the next few games. Skellefteå made some adjustments and now it's time to see if Frölunda can make theirs.
The young Finn did his thing, scoring a goal when it was needed. He had chances to score a few more, but was denied with two good saves.
He had five shots and finished -2, but you'd be hard pressed to blame him for the first goal. On the other he was the Frölunda player furthest away from the play, even if he had been caught by a quick counter attack.
Lehkonen now leads both points and goals in the playoffs, with 14 points and eight goals.