Off to historic start in GET-ligaen
The Norwegian American
Norway’s GET-ligaen ice hockey a little over halfway through the season? As of Dec. 21, second place Storhamar has a respectable 16 regulation wins (3 points each), three overtime wins (2 points each), one overtime loss (1 point each), and six regulation losses for 55 points. They are 14 points behind the team in the oil city. Stavanger has burst out to a record of 22 regulation wins, one overtime win, one overtime loss, and two regulation losses, totaling 69 points.
They opened the season winning their first nine games—a club record to start a season—before losing 2-1 at Storhamar in overtime on Oct. 19. Then came seven more victories before a 5-2 loss at Lillehammer on Nov. 19. That ended a team record for starting a season with a point in 17 straight games. Something about the 19th of the month? The Oilers dispatched that superstition with a 6-1 victory over Sparta Sarpsborg on Dec. 19 at the friendly DNB Arena for their seventh straight win. It was also their 13th straight home win.
“There is no doubt that DNB Arena will be our fort, and no teams will get cheap points from here,” said Mathias Trettenes to Stavanger Aftenblad. “Ideally, we will go through the whole season without losing here. It is largely about being top-sharp from start to finish in every single match.”
Then, on Dec. 21, they traveled north where eighth place Narvik stunned the Oilers 2-0 despite Stavanger outshooting the Arctic Eagles 38-18.
Stavanger’s success is due to an overpowering offense, outscoring opponents 119-48 (4.6-1.85 per game) and stingy defense. They’ve scored nine goals once, eight goals four times, seven goals twice, six goals twice, and five goals twice. Narvik’s Joona Samuli Partanen became the first goalie to blank Stavanger this year. The team record for wins in a season is 36.
They have a balanced attack as 19 players have scored a goal and 13 are in double digits in points. Canadian forward David Morley is the leader with 19 goals and 25 assists for 44 points, followed by Norwegian forward Trettenes (8-29-37), American forward Dan Kissel (14-22-36), and Canadian defender Nolan Zajac (8-26-34). Kissel played in Germany the last couple of seasons. They are four of the top five point men in the league. American forward Greg Mauldin is on the cusp of double-digit goals with nine in 15 games. Norwegian netminder Henrik Holm is 17-2, with 1.83 goals against average, and 93% save percentage. Norwegian backup Jonas Wikstøl is almost the same in eight games with a 6-1 record, 1.86 goals against average, and 92.9% save percentage. By comparison, Jacob Legacê led the Oilers last year with 25 goals, 25 assists for 50 points for the season. Of these players, Morley, Mauldin, Holm and Wikstøl are the only returnees from last season.
Ah, last year. The postseason proved your regular season doesn’t guarantee anything. The Oilers were 28-5-7-8 (they didn’t get their 23rd win until Feb. 3), battled Vålerenga most of the season and ended up third. They dropped the first two games of the quarterfinals to Sparta Sarpsborg 5-4 in overtime and 2-1, and then took the next four, with scores of 3-2 in overtime, 6-3, 6-5 in overtime, and 2-0. In the semifinals against Storhamar, the teams split the first four games, before Storhamar took the next two games. At the same time, fifth-seed Frisk Asker knocked out Lillehammer and top seed Vålerenga before taking care of Storhamar for the championship.
The closest streak to Stavanger’s in hockey may have been in 1979-80 when the Philadelphia Flyers went on a run of 35 wins, 0 losses, and 3 ties. That team didn’t win the Stanley Cup. As for Frisk Asker, they won their first eight games this season and since are 5-1-0-12 and are in … fifth place. Maybe, this will be the Oilers’ year—again. They are one of the storied franchises in GET-ligaen. They’ve won four regular season titles and the playoff championship seven times, in 2010 and then six straight years from 2012-2017.
Standings as of Dec. 21 (Wins (3 pts)-Wins in Overtime (2 pts)-Losses in Overtime (1 pt)-Losses-Pts): 1. Stavanger (22-1-1-2-69) 2. Storhamar (16-3-1-6-55) 3. Lillehammer (15-0-6-6-51) 4. Vålerenga (12-2-2-10-42) 5. Frisk Asker (13-1-0-12-41) 6. Sparta Sarpsborg (11-2-1-12-38) 7. Stjernen (11-2-0-13-34 Federation deducted three points) 8. Narvik (7-2-2-16-27) 9. Manglerud (6-2-1-17-20 Federation deducted three points) 10. Grüner (3-0-1-22-10).
This article originally appeared in the January 10, 2020, issue of The Norwegian American. To subscribe, visit SUBSCRIBE or call us at (206) 784-4617.