Leksands IF took a hard knock in their first game of the Champions Hockey League Quarter-Finals, going down to Frölunda Gothenburg 5-2. Despite opening up the scoring first, tying the game by the end of the first period and keeping the second period scoreless, three goals in quick succession towards the end of the third period gave Frölunda the win, and a vital three goal edge on aggregate.
"I think the start was pretty good, and then the last period, yeah that was a bit hard for us with three goals in a row," said Lian Bichsel. The 17-year-old defenceman, along with teammate Max Veronneau, was a vital cog in Leksand's offense in the game netting his first goal in the CHL to tie the game going into the second period.
The towering blueliner worked the pucked to the left side, before dishing a pass to a teammate, a touch-pass from Benjamin Thomas, and a moment later Bichsel had sunk in, high up on the circles, to wrist a beautiful shot past Frölunda netminder Matthew Tomkins.
"It was amazing, my first pro goal for Leksand"
With eight CHL games under his belt, and Leksand's strong performance throughout the Group Stage and Round of 16 games, it's a moment Bichsel has been looking forward to. "Its unbelievable for me as a younger player." He's ecstatic to have had a teammate collect a token of that moment, "I have the puck from my first goal, and I have a good place at home for it," he chimed.
Leksand managed to outshoot Frölunda 37-23, and statistically speaking, the two teams were almost identical when it came to penalties, shots blocked, hits, and even face-offs, making the loss that much harder to swallow. The two sides have just a single day of rest until they lock horns again, this time in a SHL game, however Bichsel is upbeat about the impending challenge.
"It's like playoff mode, and Frölunda, they're a hard team"
Lian Bichsel on facing Frölunda again
With their sights set on bridging the aggreagte on their Return Game at Frölundaborgs Isstadion, the game-plan against their Swedish rivals will be a straight forward one, according to Bichsel "keep going, be strict in the d-zone, keep to our plan, and in our offensive zone, keep it rolling."