Skellefteå AIK v Djurgården IF
Skellefteå have only failed to make the final once in the past eight seasons and last year beat an inexperienced Djurgården side in the semifinal. Then, the Stockholm club was muscled out of the games by the more mature Norrbotton club, unable to find that little extra to take down their less talented, but cleverer opponents. So when Skellefteå won the opening match away from home and blanked Djurgården in Hovet, it looked like history might repeat itself.
But this year it was youth that won over experience raising the questions of whether Skellefteå roster of 30+ year olds will win another LeMat Trophy again. Joakim Lindström (35), Oscar Möller (30), Mattias Olimb (33) , Fredrik Lindgren (38) , Jesper Jensen (32) and Bud Holloway (31) at least got to play, whilst 39 year old Jimmie Ericsson missed the entire playoffs where he was always an influential force.
Riding through the opening match defeat, Djurgården took the series 4-2 outscoring the northerners 19-12. Adam Reideborn may not have the form that won him 2016/7 netminder if the year, but only once in the series let in more than two goals - Game 2 - and in that game the Stockholm team won 6-3.
Revenge from last year's bitter defeat came through a team effort as they spread the points out between them. Emil Bemström, above, the 19 year old Columbus Blue Jackets drafted forward, and 21 year old Washington Capitals drafted Axel Jonsson-Fjällby both finished with 2G +2A. Meanwhile, 20 year old Buffalo Sabres drafted Marcus Davidsson and 22 year old new signing from Leksand IF, Olle Alsing were just behind the others with three (2G+1A).