Stavanger back on top in Norway
by Risto Pakarinen|27 APR 2022
Norwegian national team goalie Henrik Holm backstopped the Stavangar Oilers to the Norwegian title.
photo: Andre Ringuette / HHOF-IIHF Images
It’s been five long years since the Stavanger Oilers last celebrated a Norwegian championship. No wonder the party after their sweep over Storhamar in the final was said to be an epic one. 

“I didn’t expect us to sweep Storhamar, and I'm proud of this team. We played with broken wrists, broken knees, and torn ligaments but we wanted to do everything we could to win,” Oilers forward Tommy Kristiansen told Norwegian TV2. 

It’s also been three long years since the championship trophy was last handed out in Norway. The completion of the 2021/22 season was a welcome return to normal. 

“This means a lot, and hats off to everyone in the club after everything we’ve gone through. It’s been a couple of tough years with the pandemic and cancelled playoffs. Now we’re the champions,” said the Oilers chairman Tore Christiansen, wearing his legendary golden suit. 

There’s no debating who the best team in Norway this season was. The Stavanger Oilers cruised through the regular season title, leaving Sparta, the runner-up thirty points behind them. 

In the quarter-final, the Oilers swept against eight-seed Ringerike in four games, with a 20-2 goal difference. In the semi-final, Sparta pushed Stavanger to seven games in a close series in which all but the last game were one-goal games. The Oilers clinched their final berth with a 2-0 win in Game 7. 

In the final, they swept Storhamar, the 2018 champions in four straight games, rallying back from a 0-1 deficit to take a commanding 3-1 lead in the second period and never letting go of it in Game 4. They won the game 5-2. 

The Stavanger Oilers are the powerhouse of Norwegian hockey. The southern-most team in the Norwegian league won seven of eight titles between 2010 and 2017, and has never missed the playoffs since earning promotion to the top division in 2003 (having earned promotion from that division the year before). They also won the Continental Cup in 2013. 

For Storhamar, the final loss is naturally a bitter one. 

“Stavanger played really well but we also made them good. We weren’t anywhere close to our potential,” said Patrick Thoresen, who led his team in scoring in the regular season, with 20 goals and 52 points in 37 games tied for third in league scoring. 

In the playoffs, it was all Stavanger. Six of the top-7 in the scoring race were Oilers, with 35-year-old Dan Kissel leading the way with his 16 points in 15 games. It was his sixth Norwegian championship. Coincidentally – or not – Kissel has never not won the Norwegian league final with Stavanger.

And at the other end of the rink the Oilers had Henrik Holm, who posted the best save percentage in the playoffs, 93.4, and led his team to the 12-3 record that brought the trophy back to Stavanger. 

The Oilers are back.