LIVESTREAM Swedish semifinal: Carlstad Crusaders @ Örebro Black Knights, July 2, 15:00 CET (3 pm, 09:00 am ET)

The defending champion Örebro Black Knights will play host to the Carlstad Crusaders in a playoff game for the first time ever as the Swedish Superserien kicks off the 2022 semifinals, Saturday, July 2 at Behrn Arena in Örebro.

These two teams met last week in the final game of the regular season with Örebro running roughshod over the Crusaders, routing them 46-0. Earlier in the season, the Black Knights also beat Carlstad but in a come-from-behind 22-19 victory.

For the Black Knights, quarterback Trevor Vasey is the key. The 6’7″ signal caller has thrown for 1,242 yards and 15 touchdowns in the six games in Sweden and is always dangerous both with his arm and legs. Running back Tim Göransson has rushed for 180 yards.  Another weapon for Vasey is wide receiver Johannes Lindeus, his “go to” target. Lindeus has 24 receptions for 527 yards receiving and six touchdowns in Swedish play.  Younger brother Jesper Lindeus is also dangerous both as a receiver and returner and has 24 catches for 216 yards and six touchdowns. Add to this the return last week of Filip Wetterberg who missed most of the season for personal reasons. He had a huge impact last week with six receptions for 102 yards and two scores. This is as dangerous a receiving corps as there is in the league.

Defensively, the front seven is anchored by linebackers Jonathan Armendariz (25 tackles including 2 TFL) and Filip Jönsson while defensive linemen Martin Jäppinen and 6’3″, 307-pound Tristen Cox (24.5 tackles, 14.5 TFLs, 5 sacks), along with Team Sweden’s Sebastian Nilsson, make for an impressive unit. Last week Cox was a man on a mission recording eight tackles including six tackles for loss and a sack.

The Crusaders enter this game in the strange position of being the visiting team in a playoff game. It has been a tough year for injuries for the 2020 Swedish champions. The loss of starting quarterback Tim Morovick to injury and starting safety Davarus Shores due to personal issues, has been difficult for the team to overcome. New Canadian quarterback, Connor Carusello had a rough outing last week in only his second game behind center for the team. In his two games he has thrown for 351 yards and is still trying to find a rhythm. In the game a week ago, he was also missing a key target in Kevin Börzsei, the league’s second leading receiver. Börzsei has 38 catches for 539 yards and four touchdowns in the five games he has played. Alexandre Youbi is Carlstad’s second leading receiver with 10 receptions for 235 yards in his three games. Carlstad’s run game has struggled this season and today relatively untested Alexander Arvidsson (26 carries for 44 yards) will start at running back.

The Carlstad defense features the league’s top tackler, Mattias Eriksson, who finished the season with 41.5 tackles. Eriksson anchors a tough front seven that includes all star defensive lineman Olof Flemström and Norwegian defensive back Per Gaarden.

Despite last week’s lopsided score, this game is still a toss up. Örebro has the home field advantage and the confidence booster of the win last week to be sure but nothing is more dangerous than a wounded and embarrassed foe. The Crusaders will no doubt come out gunning for revenge.

Watch the game live here. Carlstad Crusaders @ Örebro Black Knights, July 2, 15:00 CET (3 pm, 09:00 am ET)

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