After the victory against Ässät at the last home game, fans are more than happy about the positive results of this season. Before the game started, I met two German ladies who have been following Ilves’ development over many years. I was surprised to learn that their love story with the club already began around 30 years ago! Here is how it all started:
– At the time when I moved to Finland, I studied in Tampere. I watched two games, the first was Ilves against Tappara and the second was Ilves against SaiPa; I remember it as it was yesterday. After the second game, it was crystal clear: Ilves is my team. I always liked ice hockey, and before I came to Finland, I supported the Kölner Haie. My Finnish husband had nothing to do with my decision, in fact, he is a Tappara fan – you cannot have everything in life!
– For me it is a slightly different story; I was not interested in ice hockey before I came to Finland. It was my Finnish husband who got me enthusiastic about ice hockey and Ilves in particular. We have two club tickets, and we are watching the games very frequently.
– During my studies, I was at almost every home game of Ilves, but nowadays, I am coming more rarely. The last game I watched in the arena was the derby at the end of January. I am surprised that the team is playing so well right now, I still can’t believe it! For tonight my prediction is that Ilves is going to win 3-1.
– I also believe that Ilves is going to win tonight, maybe 4-2 or 2-1. I am happy as long as they win!
As it turned out, both ladies would be proven right, although the start of the game did not seem as promising. Despite several chances for Ilves, we did not get to see any goal during the first period and then, right at the beginning of the second period the shock: Ässät Mikko Salmio shoots the puck right past Lukas Dostal, taking Ässät into the lead.
Luckily, Ilves quickly claimed the lead back and started to attack with fierce determination. The speed of the game accelerated, leading Ville Meskanen to shoot an equalizing goal. Then, one moment later, a second goal from Eemeli Suomi.
The third period continued with the same speed and Ilves in the lead. Desperate to change their situation, Ässät decided to replace their goalkeeper in the last minutes of the game and attack Ilves’ goal with six players. Arttu Ruotsalainen took the chance of an unguarded goal and shot a third and final goal for Ilves in the last second of the game.
With a final score of 3-1, Ilves finishes the season in the fourth place in the Liiga-standings. Although this journey had to end too soon, fans are more than proud of their team, and lots of great memories will remain!