Ilves traveled to Lahti on Friday and took home the three points with a good performance against Pelicans. Ilves won the very fast-paced game with the score of 1–4. Ilves’ goals were scored by Arttu Ruotsalainen, Joose Antonen, and Teemu Lepaus, who was playing his first game this season, as well as by Juuso Välimäki, whose goal was his first in Liiga.
Pelicans dominate the first period, but Ilves scores the goals
The beginning of the game was extremely action-packed. Ilves stormed the opposition right from the start but couldn’t create good enough chances. At the other end of the rink, Lukas Dostal made the first save by denying Oskari Laaksonen’s good attempt.
After four minutes of play, Dostal had to stretch in front of another great try, this time from Aleks Haatanen. Both teams kept turning the game’s direction and trading scoring chances in a quick pace. Pelicans got close to scoring: they turned a rebound from Dostal’s block into a shot from a tight angle, but it hit the post.
Ilves got to play on the powerplay because at 9:07 Iikka Kangasniemi cross-checked Roby Järventie near the boards. Ilves moved the puck well, and after a minute of running rings around the home team, Arttu Ruotsalainen sent the puck to the upper corner of the net and past goalie Jasper Patrikainen at 10:19. The 0–1 goal was assisted by Kalle Maalahti and Eemeli Suomi.
After the goal, Pelicans had a fantastic scoring chance courtesy of Jesse Ylönen. He made his way to the Ilves net but was denied by Dostal who read the situation perfectly. The home team continued to pressure Ilves and earned a powerplay at 12.22 when Santeri Hatakka knocked down a Pelicans forward. Ilves’ penalty kill worked well, and Dostal held on with only a save.
Nikolas Matinpalo lost his stick which opened up a chance for Pelicans. However, Dostal stopped Jonatan Tanus’ shot with his pads. The home team had control of the latter half of the period, and only the reliable Dostal kept the visiting team in the lead.
During the last minute of the period, Miro Nalli built up speed and shot sharply. Jasper Patrikainen lost sight of the puck, and Joose Antonen, who had been making a moving screen in front of the goalie, could scoop the puck to the net in an acrobatic manner in between his legs and behind his back. Ilves took the 0–2 lead at 19:01 with Antonen’s first of the season.
Pelicans cut the lead in half in the second
If the first period flowed like the Tammerkoski rapids in the years past, the second period was clearly more disjointed before it ramped up speed again. Pelicans had good chances again, but Dostal kept blocking, although once the puck hit the post. Ryan Lasch had possession of the puck for a very long time around the five-minute mark, but Ilves defended their center and didn’t let Pelicans’ pressure lead to anything.
In the middle of the home team’s charge, Roby Järventie organized a great chance for Teemu Lepaus, whose shot, however, was cleared by Patrikainen. Emotions took control of the game, and a good part of the period was spent messing around.
Ilves had a good grip of the game and were in the offensive zone, when Pelicans got a turnover. Artturi Toivola intervened the play and sent Iikka Kangasniemi onto a breakaway which he finished beautifully by shooting the puck to the left side of the net. So, the home team cut the lead in half, 1–2, at 34:39. The home team had a chance to even the score on an odd-man rush, which turned out very dangerous for Ilves when a player lost his stick. Pelicans moved the puck around, but the situation ended with a brilliant block from defenseman Tuomas Salmela.
Ilves had scoring chances towards the end of the period, but no extra goals were scored.
Ilves runs away with the victory in the third
The final period begun with the home team’s attack, and Oskari Laaksonen was close to getting the puck behind Dostal who was being screened. The puck ricocheted past the goal. Ilves got their game going, too, and Roby Järventie’s pass almost led to a goal by Matias Maccelli, but his attempt fell through because the defense interfered him.
It didn’t take long before another goal was scored: at 42:23, Juuso Välimäki received the puck on the blueline from Antti Saarela and Matias Maccelli. Välimäki found the perfect spot and shot the puck to the upper corner, thus taking Ilves to a 1–3 lead with his first goal of his Liiga career.
The game had a quiet phase after the goal. The phase ended with another goal as Roby Järventie backchecked, took the puck, and played it to the front of the goal, from where Teemu Lepaus used this second scoring chance of his and extended Ilves’ lead to 1–4 at 48:53.
The home team couldn’t recover from this, and at 50:14 Iikka Kangasniemi took a penalty by knocking down Kalle Maalahti, who had been playing an excellent game. Eemeli Suomi was about to increase Ilves’ lead with a determined play, but Patrikainen denied, and Ilves was left without a second powerplay goal.
Pelicans pulled their goalie early (54:15). Ryan Lasch had a great shot attempt, but Dostal made an excellent save. Pelicans pressured more, but Ilves defended rigorously. Pelicans’ long attack with six players didn’t result in many chances. When there were only 39 seconds left in the game, Ville Meskanen had a chance to score in the empty net, but Jesse Ylönen slashed him and was given a penalty. Ilves then let the time run out.
Ilves’ goalie Lukas Dostal made 26 saves in the game.
Ilves’ next home game is against Ässät in Hakametsä on Saturday. Please note the unusual starting time of 6:30 PM!