2006-2007 in review: Norway
Vålerenga Norwegian champions for the 25th time.
For the third time in a row and for the 25th time since 1960 the Oslo based club Vålerenga won the Norwegian championship defeating Storhamar Dragons 4-1 in the final series. Vålerenga won the first two games 3-2 and 2-1 (penalty shots) before Storhamar won the third final game 4-1 before Vålerenga clinched the championship by winning two straight games at home 4-1 in the fourth game and 4-2 in the fifth game where Øystein Olsen scored the last goal in an empty net at 59:59. This year's gold medal was 38 year old Olsen's tenth championship title with Vålerenga! The championship team was coached by Norway's most successful player ever, the former NHL-player Espen Knutsen who celebrated the title by showing his behind for the Vålerenga fan club "Klanen".
On their way to the final both Storhamar and Vålerenga won their semi finals in six games, Vålerenga against Sparta Sarpsborg and Storhamar against Stavanger Oilers. In the quarter finals Vålerenga had an easy way to the next round when they defeated Furuset in four straight games, Storhamar had a bit tougher and needed six games to eliminate Stjernen, the other quarter finals results were Stavanger-Comet 4-2 and Sparta-Frisk Asker 4-3.
It was the two best teams of the regular season that played in the final, Vålerenga won the league 8 points ahead of Storhamar who was 14 points before Stavanger that placed third. Frisk Asker was the only top four finisher that lost in the quarter finals but since they were only 1 point ahead of Sparta that was not a big surprise. Lillehammer and Trondheim had terrible seasons and finished in the two last places clearly distanced by Furuset who finished in eight place. Trondheim only had 22 points from 44 games and only managed to get three points on away ice. Lillehammer and Trondheim had to play in a qualification round to stay in the top league and they did manage to do so in competition with Manglerud Star and Lørenskog from division 1.
Despite losing in the final Storhamar's Christian Larrivée was named the MVP of the playoffs. The Canadien scored 33 points in 17 playoff games. The player of the year award was given to Vålerenga's defender Lars Erik LundTop scorer of the regular season was Sparta'sJonas Solberg Andersen with 78 points, he was 15 points ahead of Mathis Olimb who was second. One of the keys to Vålerenga's success was the Swedish goalie Björn Bjurling. Bjurling who replaced the injured Tyrone Garner in the beginning of the season was the best goalie in the league with another Swedish born keeper, Jonas Norgren, Norgren who is now a Norwegian citizen and a national team player made his tenth consecutive season with Storhamar. In the media all star team, Bjurling was goalie, Lund and Christian Chartier defenders, while Andersen, Olimb and 20 year oldMats Zucharello Aasen was selected as forwards.
Top scorers Regular season
Player Team G A TP 1. Jonas Solberg Andersen Sparta 38 40 78 2. Mathis Olimb Vålerenga 19 44 63 3. Mats Z. Aasen Frisk Asker 34 25 59
Top 3 goaltenders regular season (based on save %, minimum of 20 games played)
Player Team GP SVS% 1. Björn Bjurling Vålerenga 35 .925 2. Jonas Norgren Storhamar 25 .916 3. Ruben Smith Storhamar 21 .911
Story by Fredrik Pålsson
Story added on 25th May 2007 at 21:18 GMT
Story submitted by: Carl Johnstone.