The contest between Ilves, second in standings, and HPK, last in standings, was surprisingly even. Both teams scored a lot, but also struggled. In the end, HPK won the eventful game 4–5.
HPK leads, Ilves follows
In the beginning, Ilves defended well and swiftly turned HPK’s attacks to counterattacks. Still, they had a hard time getting close enough to the visitors’ net. HPK shot diligently at the Ilves goal and had the better scoring chances.
Around 10:30, Ilves had a beautiful 4–on–2 attack, but the final shot stopped at a defenseman’s legs. At 18:19, HPK’s Juuso Ikonen caught Ilves players napping on the blueline and scored on a breakaway. In the end, HPK was the more dominant team of the period.
Ilves seemed to wake up a little in the second. Roby Järventie had a good, early chance, but HPK goalie Daniel Lebedeff made the necessary save. At 22:47, Antti Saarela collided with Lebedeff who fell dangerously against the goalpost. Luckily, he was fine.
Soon Teemu Väyrynen sent a wicked wrister to the back of the net, but no one else seemed to realize it went in. Referees went to check and, yes, it was in. Score even, 1–1. Then Ilves got their first powerplay and took only 14 seconds to score again! Panu Mieho scored, assisted by Airola and Myttynen.
However, HPK didn’t let Ilves just run with it: Santeri Lukka evened the score at 28:46. HPK was determined to turn the tide, and they were awarded with another goal on the powerplay. The visitors were in the lead, 2–3. But wait! Ilves quickly evened the score again, 3–3, with Teemu Lepaus’ funny goal that bounced in off two HPK players.
The second period was delightfully eventful and, compared to the first, a much better showing for Ilves.
Disappointment in overtime
The third period started with a ridiculously fast tempo: Ilves got half a dozen shot attempts on the powerplay and HPK had great scoring chances. Another powerplay just before the halfway mark finally gave Ilves their second powerplay goal of the night. Joona Ikonen was the scorer, and Ilves regained the lead, 4–3.
Ilves’ Saarela got on the breakaway and scored, but the goal was overturned due to goalie interference. Ilves was given a penalty shot from the same situation, but Eemeli Suomi failed to score. HPK put pressure on Ilves until the last moments and was able to score 10 seconds before the end, 4–4.
Ilves looked good in the overtime, but HPK’s Jere Innala was the one to decide the game. HPK won 4–5 and took home two points, while Ilves received one point.