Sophomore Alex Fallstrom found himself in quite the conundrum on Monday night. While suiting up for Harvard’s exhibition game against the U-18 national team of his native Sweden, he couldn’t help but think what it would be like to play against his old friends and countrymen. Luckily, he didn’t have to wait too long.
“It was fun,” Fallstrom says of the game. “A couple of my good friends from home are on that team.”
Fallstrom and the Crimson ended up falling, 2-1, in that matchup.
The 6-foot-2 forward was born in Stockholm and knows many players on the Swedish team from his time playing for his native club team Djurgarden Hockey as well as several stints with the U-18 national team.
“I actually played with the national team last year,” Fallstrom says. “[We] came to Canada for three exhibitions games as part of tryouts for World Juniors. I’ve played against most of the players, and I know five or six of them personally.”
Fallstrom performed well against his countrymen, assisting junior forward Ryan Grimshaw for Harvard’s only goal. The play of his fellow teammates has Fallstrom looking forward to the rest of the year.
“I think we showed that we’ve made a lot of progress during the preseason,” Fallstrom says. “We were the better team throughout the game. We came back really strong in the third period. All that was missing was a couple goals.”
These are goals the sophomore will look to provide for the Crimson this year, especially after the loss of classmate Louis Leblanc to the NHL.
“Louis was our leading scorer, so of course it’s a big loss,” Fallstrom says. “I don’t think it will have an impact on the way we perform this year. It just means there will be more responsibility for the players on the team. A lot more players, like myself, will have to produce more points.”
Fallstrom certainly looks poised to make a splash this year. He skated in all but one of Harvard’s 33 games last season, scoring four goals and notching eight assists.
“Everyone is looking for Fallstrom to have a great year,” junior forward Alex Killorn says. “Over the past year, he’s matured a lot hockey-wise. We expect a lot of him offensively, and I think he’ll do much to contribute.”
In the exhibition game, Fallstrom relished the chance to compete against his good friends. One of them, Gabreil Landeskog, had a nice day as well, assisting on a Swedish goal.
“We played on the same juniors team back home, and we’ve been to several national team camps together,” Fallstrom says. “That’s how we built our friendship. He’s playing in the OHL (Ontario Hockey league). He made the decision to go across the pond. It was great to see him.”
Fallstrom’s desire for a top education and the option to go pro prompted him to come to the U.S. at the age of 16 and attend school in Minnesota. He feels that being at Harvard gives him the best chance to pursue both goals.
“I always wanted to play hockey in the States, and school has always been really important for me,” Fallstrom says. “I wanted to go to the NHL draft. I knew the transition from Swedish school to college would be tough. I had an opportunity to go to school in Minnesota and thought that would be a great way to prepare for college.”