AIK star after final loss: "It's incredibly tough"

Skellefteå AIK's first center Pär Lindholm has played in four SM finals - and lost them all. "It's really tough," said the 31-year-old right after the final whistle.

Pär Lindholm.

Pär Lindholm.

Foto: Petter Arvidson

Ishockey2023-04-25 09:14

In the fifth SM final between Växjö Lakers and Skellefteå AIK, the stakes were clear. AIK needed to win at Vida Arena to bring the match series back to Västerbotten. However, that did not happen. Växjö won 3-0 after two empty-net goals in the third quarter gave them a flattering scoreline.

Växjö won the series mainly because of their incredibly disciplined defence and a goaltender who played out of this skin. There was a reason Emil Larmi  won the Player of the Playoffs award. He was in inspired form throughout.

Towards the end of the first period, Skellefteå's captain Oscar Möller thundered a shot that seemed destined for the net - but at the last second Larmi threw himself across in football fashion and saved with the inside of his glove. It was a world-class save.

– It's really tough and frustrating. It doesn't feel good at all. We wanted to be on the other side now," Pär Lindholm said after the match.

In the final minutes, as AIK pushed forward in search of a goal, Pär Lindholm was struck in the face with a stick and fell to the ice. However, no action was taken by the officials.

–There's not much we can do now. It is what it is, and what has happened has happened. We simply weren't good enough this time, the player added.

– This will be the fourth silver medal in the SM for us, said the player.

–  Of course, we would have preferred to be on the other side, but I've been in the league for 5 and a half years and have reached the final four times. Unfortunately, luck hasn't been on my side. Winning is what you want to do, and I've come close many times, but haven't succeeded yet.

– We've given everything and fought like animals, and we managed to go far, which I'm proud of. But unfortunately, it wasn't enough to go all the way.

When asked to sum up the 2022/23 season, the player highlighted the group's camaraderie.

– First and foremost, it's the group that I want to highlight. We've had so much fun together and really fought for each other. We've gone into battle every game, and it's been so much fun to play with these guys, he said, adding that turning around deficits in the playoffs was also enjoyable.

"The icing on the cake would have been winning with this group."

But it wasn't to be. 


Växjö Lakers – Skellefteå AIK 3–0 (0–0, 1–0, 2–0)

Final 5:7 4–1 in matches

The goals: 1–0 (39.54) Robert Rosén (Lundberg, Gustafsson), 2–0 (58.23) Victor Stjernborg (Josefsson), in an empty net, 3–0 (59.01) Ludvig Nilsson (Stjernborg), in an empty net.

Shots: 20–18 (4–12, 9–2, 7–4).

Penalty minutes: 4–6 (4–2, 0–4, 0–0).

Attemdance: 5,750 spectators.