On Friday evening, Ilves faced the Pelicans in a fast-paced match in Lahti, and despite leading the first period as well as excellent work by the defense, the team missed out on victory in the last moment, as the Pelicans won the game 3-2 in overtime.
Ilves lead the first round
From the opening whistle, both teams played a fast-paced game, and the puck flew across the ice. Soon came the first risky attack on Ilves’ goal, but Kolppanen managed to block the puck. A few minutes later, a chance opened up for Ilves while the Pelicans were down to four players. However, those four formed an invincible defense, and finally, the time ran out. Continuing to move the puck from one side of the ice to the other, both teams repeatedly mounted attacks, but initially, they were always repelled.
Finally, however, the efforts were rewarded when Matias Maccelli knocked the puck into the net behind Pelicans’ goalie at 10:46 to give Ilves the lead. As a result, the Pelicans built up even more pressure and didn’t give Ilves a second to catch their breath. Yet, Ilves kept a cool head and vehemently blocked the opponents. Two minutes before the end of the first period, Ilves was up 5-on-4, but no more goals were scored, and the first period ended 0-1.
Opponents catch up
After the break, the players immediately picked up the tempo of the previous round, and with the Pelicans team looking for an equalizer, the pressure was back on. Ilves managed to push close to the opponent’s goal. The Pelicans had a good moment for an equalizing goal, but Kolppanen did not allow a shot into the net. Even when Ilves had to play a few minutes shorthanded, the team managed to block the Pelicans’ attacks and even start an attack of their own.
On both sides, one attack followed the other and Kolppanen proved his skills in several fantastic saves. The attacks were just hailing in on Ilves’ goal and finally, a shot by Pelicans’ Aleks Haatanen went through in 38:12, and thus, the last period ended in a draw.
The victory slips away
With the score of 1-1, the teams were tied again, and everything was still open. The game continued as before, with strong attacks from both sides.
In the 49th minute, we finally got the longed-for second goal for Ilves, this time from Teemu Lepaus after a neat pass from Eemeli Suomi. The Pelicans had a few chances to close the gap again, but Ilves was still fully focused despite the speed of this game and kept preventing the puck from landing in their goal. At the same time, the attempts to increase their lead were also prevented by the opponents and so the puck was whizzing from one end to the other, demanding full effort from the goalkeepers.
In the final minutes of this exhaustive game, Pelicans’ Elias Vilén shot the puck past Kolppanen without a chance to block it. This eventually led to regulation time ending in a tie and the game going into overtime. Due to a violation, Ilves was outnumbered and in the end, the opponents decided the game in their favor when Rudolf Cerveny scored the third goal for the Pelicans, finishing the match 3-2.