Lukko, the league leader, has been an unbeatable opponent for Ilves this season. But tonight, Ilves was able to ride the flow of yesterday’s win and finally beat Lukko. The final score of the exciting game was 4–3.
Lukko got an early penalty, and when the penalty was almost over, Teemu Lepaus poked the puck from the air into the net. Assists by Meskanen and Suomi, and Ilves had an early 1–0 lead against the dangerous Lukko. Ilves continued to play well and control the puck, while Lukko had to regroup after the opening goal.
Daniel Audette evened the score with a sharp wrister at 7:31, and Lukko was back in the game. Goalie Mäkiniemi tried to keep Ilves in the game, but soon Lukko scored again, this time on the powerplay. 1–2 to Lukko halfway through the first period.
Ilves has struggled with too many penalties, and this game did not improve that record. Suomi took another penalty, and while Lukko could not score on the powerplay this time, they scored soon after it, 1–3. Ilves could not seem focus on their game.
Three Ilves goals in ten minutes
Joona Ikonen had a couple of good chances on the powerplay at the beginning of the second period, but the score remained the same. Järventie and Maccelli devised a two-on-zero attack and Järventie scored, bringing Ilves closer to Lukko, 2–3. Ilves’ offence looked much better now.
Then Ilves evened the score on the powerplay! Despite the Lukko defenders’ efforts, Lepaus got close to the Lukko net and put one past goalie Oskari Setänen at 27:21. Ilves got yet another penalty, but in the end it did not matter as Joona Ikonen flew past the Lukko defensemen, scored a beautiful goal and took back the lead, 4–3. Ilves had turned the game upside down in ten minutes.
Suomi saved Ilves from a sure Lukko goal as he swatted the puck away from the goal line when around six minutes were left in the period. Lukko fervently sought for an equalizer, but Ilves fought back.
Ilves defend their lead
The third period started with Lukko’s Hakulinen shooting a fast puck at the Ilves goal, but it hit the post. Ilves’ Parikka was also close to scoring, but Setänen held on. After that Ilves killed two important penalties and thus did not let Lukko create dangerous scoring chances.
Ilves spent most of the third in a defensive mode, but it paid off. In the last minutes Lukko played without their goalie and tried to get something going, but when Joona Ikonen blocked their final shot, Ilves could start celebrating the victory. Ilves won 4–3 with a great comeback!