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Swede having super sophomore season for UPEI Panthers


Filip Rydstrom has made major improvements in second season in AUS

CHARLOTTETOWN, P.E.I. – A year-end conversation with coach Forbes MacPherson fuelled Filip Rydstrom’s off-season and has led him to become one of the UPEI Panthers top scorers.

“He just said I had to come back better to get ice time, and I think I did that. I’m really happy that I took time this summer to really think about that,” Rydstrom said outside the Panthers dressing room after Monday’s practice. “I wanted to come back and be better for the team and just be a better hockey player.”

Mission accomplished.

“We kind of had him pegged at the end of last year in a different spot in our lineup. Then he showed up this year in a different frame of mind and (with) a different level of compete,” MacPherson said. “I can't comment enough what he’s meant to our team this year and our lineup.”

The Swedish centre came to Charlottetown in 2014 and spent two seasons with the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League Islanders. He then played a season in the United States Hockey League before returning to Canada in 2017 to start his university career.

RELATED: Rydstrom commits to UPEI.

The first season didn’t go as planned.

While there is always an adjustment from junior to university hockey, Rydstrom admitted he was surprised by the level of play.

“It was way better hockey than I expected,” he said.

He spent the season on the wing – a place that was unfamiliar to him. After coming back in better shape and in a better mindset, he has earned the trust of the coaching staff. They moved him back into the middle and he flourished in the first semester.

Always known for being a strong two-way player, who was good in the faceoff circle and played a physical game, Rydstrom has shown a scorer’s touch this season.

He has 16 points through 12 games, which included a five-point night (four goals and an assist) in an 8-3 victory over Acadia on Oct. 27. He ended the first half of the season with 14 points in nine games, which included six Panthers victories.

“I’m a bit surprised myself, but we’ve had great success on our power play, and I’ve been playing with great players,” Rydstrom said.

He was skating earlier this week in practice with Cody Payne and Beau McCue. It is a line similar in stature to the one Rydstrom came to prominence on, when he played with wingers Ross Johnston and Oliver Cooper on the Islanders.

RELATED: It's a busy weekend for UPEI student-athletes.

“That’s the way I like to play hockey, just getting pucks down low, crash and bang (and get) a couple of cycles,” he said. “I really don't think I am a finesse kind of player. I am just trying to play the right way and make it work.”

While the offensive numbers are easy to see, it just doesn’t happen.

“It’s a result of playing a certain way and practising a certain way and being committed a certain way,” MacPherson said. “He treats Monday to Thursday much different and he’s being rewarded on Friday and Saturday.”


Need to know

A look at Filip Rydstrom

Who – A 22-year-old hockey player with the UPEI Panthers

Hometown – Vallentuna, Sweden

Height, weight – Six-foot-three, 205 pounds.

Statistics

Season         League     GP        G         A          Pts.    PIM

2014-15           QMJHL   50          8         12        20        38

2015-16           QMJHL   68        21        26         47        67

2016-17           USHL      51        10        24        34        186

2017-18           AUS        26          4          1          5          47

2018-19           AUS        12          9          7        16          24

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