3. DEFENSE- Johanna Fällman (SWE) v Emilia Ramboldt (SWE)
Two Swedish "veterans" of SDHL hockey at 28 and 30 years old, both play a tough, physical brand of hockey coupled with great positioning and timing. In the regular season Fällman picked up considerably more PIMs than Ramboldt - mainly due to be ejected for Fighting when she scored a Gordie Howe hattrick in January.
In fact discipline was a regular problem for the Norrbotten team with five players - Ferno, Salvolainen, Fällman, Hiirokoski and Karvinen - picking up 196 PIMs between them. As in every playoff hockey match, penalties will play a key factor in the game, not least because in SDHL the best players often play both in the Power Play and Penalty Kill. Playing 4 on 5 means your best players are using up their resources defending when they should be attacking - a recipe for losing matches.
Linköping have come through to the final facing tougher opposition that their rivals in the playoffs. But they nonetheless have seen off Djurgården IF and MODO Hockey in just seven games. From a defensive point of view, that has included two shutouts, two games where their opponents only scored one goal and just two matches where their opponents scored more than two goals against them.
Luleå walked over AIK in the quarterfinals, but in the semis HV71 threatened them and showed that the current champions are beatable.
SUMMARY: The Luleå team is built primarily around attack, but Linköping have been disciplined and stingy in defense the playoffs. Advantage: Linköping