Norway snows the competition
Norwegians top the standings in five winter sports; Frisk Asker advances to hockey finals
The Norwegian American
The domination of Norway on snow this winter was incredible. A Norwegian sat atop the World Cup standings in five sports.
The secret to defeating Therese Johaug was to get her off the European continent. The cross-country queen lost her last two races at the FIS Cross-Country World Cup at Quebec City, Canada. On March 23, Stina Nilsson (25:51.6) of Sweden edged Johaug (25:51.8) by .2 in the 10-km mass start. Norway’s Ingvild Flugstad Østberg was third (25:53.1). The following day, Nilsson bested Johaug again in the 10-km pursuit freestyle, clocking 23:55.1, while Johaug was timed in 24:08.0, Østberg in 24:10.2.
However, Johaug’s unbeaten run in the previous races of the season had given her a commanding lead in the World Cup standings. She topped the table with 956 points, Østberg was second with 817.
In the men’s final weekend at Quebec City, Johannes Høsflot Klæbo captured the 1.6-km sprint (3:22.41), by +1.10, with teammate Sindre Bjørnestad Sklar third; pulled away in the last 100 meters of the 15-km mass start, to win in 36:10.9, .8 in front of Canada’s Alex Harvey, and 1.3 ahead of teammate Didrik Tønseth, (Sjur Røthe and Emil Iversen were fourth and fifth), and finished the season off winning the 15-km pursuit freestyle in 29:05.4. Klæbo topped the World Cup leaderboard with 1,717 points, 100 ahead of Russia’s Alexander Bolshunov. Røthe was third, Simen Hegstad Krüeger fourth, Tønseth fifth, Iversen sixth, Martin Johnsrud Sundby ninth, Sklar 11th.
The Biathlon World Cup was held at Holmenkollen, March 22-24, and it was home sweet home for Johannes Thingnes Bø. He won the 10-km sprint in 24:39.9; 12.5-km pursuit in 32:15.6, and the 15-km mass start in 37:25.6 with perfect shooting. Brother Tarjei was second in the 12.5-km pursuit, Vetle Sjåstad Christiansen fifth. Johannes won the World Cup with 1,262 points, 408 points ahead of Russia’s Alexander Loginov.
On the women’s side, Tiril Eckhoff was second in the 12.5-km mass start (35:57.5). Marte Olsbu Røiseland finished fourth in the World Cup standings with 855 points.
Maren Lundby made up for the disappointing performance of the Norwegian men ski jumpers by winning the women’s FIS Ski Jumping World Cup with 1,909 points, a 416-point margin over Germany’s Katharina Althaus. In the last meet at Chaykovsky, Russia, Lundby jumped 128 meters and 137.5 meters on the HS140 hill for 270.9 points.
Jarl Magnus Riiber captured the World Cup trophy with 1,518 points, 625 more than Japan’s Akito Watabe. Jørgen Gråbak was seventh, Espen Bjørnstad ninth, Jan Schmid 14th, Magnus Krog 15th.
GET-Ligaen Ice Hockey Semifinals
Fifth-seed Frisk Asker is the surprise of the GET-ligaen ice hockey playoffs. After eliminating fourth-seed Lillehammer in seven games, they then took out top-seed Vålerenga in six in the semifinals, winning the last three games. It took Kyle Bonis’s goal 5:13 into overtime for a 4-3 victory March 31. First-period goals by Bonis, Sebastian Johansen, and Mikkel Christiansen staked FA to a 3-1 lead. Third-period goals by Tobias Lindström (2G) and Stefan Espeland forced a 3-3 tie.
Christiansen’s goal at 10:39 of overtime gave FA a 4-3 win in Game 1. Viktor Granholm, Garrett Thompson, and Endre Medby were the other goal scorers. Lindström had one goal, two assists, Martin Røymark and Rasmus Ahlholm one goal, one assist for the Oslo team.
Vålerenga evened the series with a 4-2 victory behind second period goals from Morten Ask, Kalle Ekelund, and Røymark.
In Game 3, Røymark’s goal with 1:50 left gave Vålerenga a 3-2 win and 2-1 series lead.
FA took the next two games convincingly. First, 7-1, as Medby had two goals and two assists, Hampus Gustafsson and Christiansen two goals and an assist, and Sean McMonagle four assists.
They then took a 3-2 series lead with a 4-0 shutout in Game 5. McMonagle and Cato Cocozza had a goal and an assist.
In the other semifinal, second-seed and defending champion Storhamar defeated third-seed Stavanger 3-1, April 1, to take the series 4-2. Steffen Thoresen had a goal and an assist. Niklas Fogström and Christian Larrivée scored the other goals.
Storhamar took a 3-2 series lead with a 5-1 victory behind two goals from Victor Svensson.
The teams alternated victories in the first four games. Storhamar captured Game 1 with a 5-2 victory behind two goals from Aaron Irving.
Philip Lane scored 45 seconds into overtime for a 3-2 Stavanger win in Game 2. Storhamar’s Robin Dahlstrøm scored the tying goal with 2:04 left in regulation.
Mikael Zettergren scored two goals to lift Storhamar to a 3-0 win in Game 3.
Stavanger jumped to a 4-0 lead in Game 4, then held off Storhamar 4-3. David Morley, Greg Mauldin, Luc Snuggerud, and Lane scored for Stavanger. Andreas Øksnes, Zettergren, and Christian Bull scored in the third period for Storhamar.
The finals started April 5.
This article originally appeared in the April 19, 2019, issue of The Norwegian American. To subscribe, visit SUBSCRIBE or call us at (206) 784-4617.