CHL reaches playoff stage
by Derek O'Brien|14 OCT 2021
Tappara’s Kristian Kuusela carries the puck in the offensive zone as Skelleftea’s Tom Kuhnhackl defends. Both teams advanced to the playoff stage.
photo: Mika Kylmaniemi / Photomotion / Tappara / CHL
What started in late August with 32 teams is now down to 16, as the Champions Hockey League’s group stage concluded this week with some big games. 

The Rouen Dragons, Red Bull Munich, the ZSC Lions Zurich, Sparta Prague, the Vaxjo Lakers and four-time champion Frolunda Gothenberg were among the last teams to secure advancement with big wins on Tuesday or Wednesday.

Other teams didn’t cut it so close, such as Fribourg-Gotteron, which won all six of its Group F games by a combined score of 25-9. The Swiss club was the only one this year to finish with a perfect group-stage record. The next most dominant teams were Frolunda, Lukko Rauma, Rogle Angelholm and Red Bull Salzburg, who all took 14 of a possible 18 points.

Although they didn’t advance, HC Donbass made a respectable showing as the first-ever Ukrainian club to compete, winning twice and collecting eight points. Incredibly, all six of the team’s games were decided by one goal, and two of them in extra time.

Five of the CHL’s first six champions have come from Sweden and that country has been dominant again, sending all five teams into the playoffs. The remaining field of 16 also includes two teams each from Switzerland, Germany, Finland and Austria and one each from the Czech Republic, Italy and France.

The French champion from Rouen is qualifying in part due to Slovenian goaltender Matija Pintaric, who played in all six of his team’s games and recorded a competition-leading 213 saves. Another high-performing goalie was Connor Hughes of Fribourg-Gotteron with four wins, two shutouts, a goals-against average of 1.00 and save percentage of 96.80 – leading the latter two categories among goalies who played at least four games. 

The top scorers from the group stage were forwards Frederik Tiffels of Munich, Ludvig Larsson of Rogle and Lino Martschini of EV Zug with 10 points each. Munich rearguard Zachary Redmond had nine points – all assists – making him the leader in points by a defenceman and assists by anybody. Eisbaren Berlin’s Matthew White led all players with seven goals. 

Frolunda forward Ryan Lasch added eight points to his all-time CHL-leading totals. The American is the competition’s all-time leader in goals (30), assists (69) and points (99), with teammate Joel Lundqvist second in each category.

The Playoff Draw

Lasch and Lundqvist are just two players from a Frolunda team that will yet again try to defend its European title, and they’ll find out who they face first during the Playoff Draw, which takes place Friday at 12:00 noon CEST in Zurich, Switzerland and will be streamed on the Champions Hockey League website and all of its digital platforms.
Playoff Draw Champions Hockey League 2021/2022
The playoff brackets of the Champions Hockey League 2021/2022 with the 16 teams that advance will be determined in a draw on 15 October 2022 at 12:00 noon CET. Watch the draw live or delayed.
14 OCT 2021
The Draw consists of two pots – the eight group winners in one and the eight second-place finishers in the other. Teams can be drawn into a matchup with a team from their own league, but not from a team from their group in the round of 16. The Draw will result in a playoff bracket, so that no further draws are necessary and teams will know who their next opponent is after every round. 

The round of 16, quarter-finals and semi-finals are played in sets of two games, one at each team’s home rink. The team that scores the most goals after 120 minutes advances. If the score is tied at that point, a 10-minute sudden-death overtime period and, if necessary, a shootout will follow. No overtime is played at the end of the first game, even if it’s tied.

The Champions Hockey League returns to the ice in November, with the first games of the round of 16 on 16-17 November and return games a week later on 23-24 November. After that, the quarter-finals will be played in December and the semi-finals in January.

The one-game final will be played after the Olympic Break on 3 March.