Valerenga or Storhamar? That question is on everyone’s mind every season as to who will win the Get Ligaen title. Since 1991, Valerenga or Storhamer have not won the league only twice, Lillehammer won in 1994 and Frisk Asker won in 2002. Could this be the year of a new champ?
Valerenga currently sits in second place, just one point behind Sparta Sarpsborg. Sparta has been phenomenal this season, particularly at home where they remain unbeaten. Goaltender Phil Osaer is having another great season. He has a 1.45 GAA with a .940 save % through 11 games and he has always been better in the playoffs than the regular season. Sparta is also benefiting from great chemistry on it’s top line, particularly with Jonas Andersen and Henrik Malmstrom. Those two have a knack for finding each other on the ice for some very nice setups. When one has the puck, you can be sure that the other is in place to net the puck. If any team can dethrone Valerenga and Storhamar right now, it’s Sparta Sarpsborg.
Storhamar has yet to really find their groove this season. the loss of Ruben Smith has hurt the team much more than they thought it would. Trevor Koenig just can’t replicate what Smith had done for the team. They are also plagued by slumping players, poor defense, and off ice problems. the addition of Christian Larrivee was a good move and he is playing better than expected, but this team has too many problems right now. If they don’t rectify things soon they won’t make the playoffs for the first time in 19 years.
Valerenga on the other hand, is basically a guarantee for the playoffs and has a very strong chance of gaining their fifth title in six seasons. The offense does need to pick it up though. They aren’t going to beat a team like Sparta in the playoffs with Mark McCutcheon as their only weapon. Sparta’s defense and goaltending are too good. Valerenga has a lot of weak spots this year that they will need to address if they want to win again. This team is being carried by their goaltender Patrick DesRochers right now. DesRochers has been the best player in the league up to this point. After having an abysmal showing at the European Trophy, he came to life once the season began and has been unbeatable.
This season has been exciting so far and you really get the feeling that things are changing in the league. teams like Sparta and Stavanger are becoming a lot more formidable and this season could mark the beginning of a new era in Norwegian hockey.