Ilves had the edge over Tappara as they had won all the previous four derby games this season. Ilves started well but Tappara turned the tables at the halfway point and avoided being swept. Eetu Mäkiniemi stopped 22 shots and Ilves’ goals were scored by Roby Järventie and Aleksi Elorinne.
Ilves has the lead after 20 minutes of hockey
Fifth derby game of the regular season got a great start. Roby Järventie opened the scoring with his 14th goal of the season at 6.56. Matias Maccelli saw Järventie wide open on the other side of Tappara’s defensive zone and Maccelli’s pass went through all the traffic. Christian Heljanko had no chance to stop Järventie’s one-timer. Also, Kalle Maalahti did some good forechecking and got the puck for Ilves so credits belong to him, too. Tappara tied the game after power break. Valtteri Kemiläinen shot a hard slapshot past Eetu Mäkiniemi who was badly screened. So, we had a tie game at 9.01.
Ilves made it 2-1 at 13.44 as Aleksi Elorinne’s shot surprised Tappara’s goalie. Defenseman skated towards Tappara’s defensive zone and dumped the puck towards Heljanko after passing the blue line. The puck went over goalie’s pad and even Elorinne himself seemed a bit surprised as the red light started flashing.
Heading towards the first intermission, it was clear that both teams know each other well. Neither team did get anything for free and it was hard to find the very best scoring chances. Fast-paced and entertaining hockey, though!
Joona Ikonen was sent to penalty box almost immediately after the puck drop for tripping. At 21.35 the game was tied at 2-2 as Kemiläinen scored his second goal of the evening. Ilves’ penalty kill was decent but Tappara’s first and only shot on powerplay found its way past Mäkiniemi. Ilves got another penalty shortly after when Matias Myttynen got a minor for tripping. This time, penalty kill units were flawless.
Ilves’ second line led by Maccelli and Järventie had a strong offensive shift. They created a couple great scoring chances but the puck never crossed the goal line. Tappara was struggling and Ilves’ third goal of the evening was more than close.
Ilves got their first powerplay chance of the game in the middle of second period. However, this did not result an additional goal as the powerplay was not at its best. Tappara was the one that managed to capitalize powerplay opportunity, again. Kasper Simontaival shot a one-timer after he got a pass that went through Ilves’ players. Ilves was first time chasing at 35.38.
No goals in sight for Ilves
Third period started like the previous one as Ilves got a minor penalty during the first shift. After that, Ilves got their turn to tie the game with a powerplay goal but this did not turn into reality. At 47.43 Tappara extended their lead after Otto Rauhala found an opening through Ilves’ defense. At this point Ilves had somewhat 12 minutes left to score at least two goals.
Ilves created pressure couple minutes before the end of regulation. Ikonen had a breakaway and, after that, Tappara got a minor penalty for tripping. Naturally Ilves pulled the goalie and added an extra attacker. Ilves got a goal with 65 seconds remaining but the puck was kicked in by Järventie. Amazing pass by Maccelli, though. Tappara made it 2-5 as Jukka Peltola scored an empty netter and that was the end result of the last derby game of the regular season.