You can’t ask the rival teams of Tampere to play a chill game; it’s always fireworks between these two. Tonight, Tappara sought revenge for the 5–2 loss Ilves handed them last time the teams played each other, but Ilves was victorious yet again. The final score was 4–5.
A mini comeback story in three minutes
Derbies have extra intensity, which is expected when two rival teams, who have a long history and whose fans detest each other, collide. Usually tempers flare a lot, too, but this time both teams seemed to bring the fireworks in the form of a score-fest. Not even a minute in and Tappara started setting up the firework show with a lightning-fast goal: forward Charles Bertrand ripped a sharp shot to the back of the Ilves net. Soon after Tappara took a 2–0 lead courtesy of Jukka Peltola. Tappara was clearly on the driver’s seat at this point, and the home crowd enjoyed every second.
Finally, when there were around four minutes left in the period, things started to happen in Tappara’s end of the ice. Jiri Smejkal tripped a green-and-yellow player and had to skate into the penalty box. Players battled for position in front of the Tappara net, but it was Arttu Ruotsalainen who sent an absolute rocket into the net at 16:59, cutting Tappara’s lead in half.
Ilves immediately punished Tappara for taking another penalty. Juuso Välimäki shot the puck toward Joose Antonen who swatted at it while battling in front of the net. The puck bounced off him and goalie Dominik Hrachovina and ended up in the net. The bobcats had woken up! They continued creating good chances after the goal, skating around the Tappara defenders like it’s nothing. And yet again Hrachovina had to surrender: Välimäki picked up another assist as Miro Nalli scored from his pass. When Ilves decide to start playing, they do it with style. After an immensely entertaining first period, the teams headed to intermission with Ilves in the lead, 2–3.
Both teams continue where they left off
The second period had barely begun when Antonen scored the 2–4 goal on a 4-on-1 attack. Tappara players collided with each other on the center ice and left the way open. Ilves’ fans were greatly outnumbered in the stands, since Tappara was the home team tonight, but they were still treated to absolutely fantastic goals.
Around 27:00, Nalli blocked a shot and was left on the ice to writhe in pain. Tappara used this opportunity to steal the puck and play it to Jarkko Malinen, who scored. Tappara momentarily closed in on Ilves, but it didn’t take long for Ruotsalainen to score again. His shot deflected off a defenseman, which made it harder for Hrachovina to follow the puck, and so Ilves extended their lead to 3–5. Both teams continued to have fantastic chances, and the game proceeded in a fast pace.
The third period started with good energy, too, and Ilves was able to create some sneaky scoring chances. Tappara pulled their goalie early to play on the man advantage and try to start a comeback. Ilves defended diligently, so they weren’t able to score until it was too late: Michael Spacek’s one-timer goal came 32 seconds before the end, but it was too late to score more.
And as if the gorgeous goals weren’t enough, the fans got a little treat in the form of a fight two minutes before the end. Two Tappara players knocked Ruotsalainen over, which he didn’t like, and so he brought even more heat to the game by fighting with Smejkal. In the end, Ilves won the second derby of the season with the score of 4–5. Tampere derbies seem to deliver every time, and tonight was no exception.