On Saturday 21nd Ilves faced Jukurit in Mikkeli.
The first period went for Ilves
It was a slow start for both teams. Ilves´s first scoring opportunity was opened up for Lassi Thomson which, however, Jukurit goalie Sami Rajamäki catched easily. After a lazy start, the penalty received by Otto Mäkinen at 8:06 brought some welcomed action to the game.
Ilves was having an active and dangerous power-play in the course of which it was able to capitalize for the first time at 9:00 when Panu Mieho hit the net from the rebound shot by Arttu Ruotsalainen. Eemeli Suomi notched an assist.
At 12:34 Ilves received more power-play minutes due to Aleksander Jakovenko being penalized. Barrett Hayton was badly looking for his opening score, however, without a greater success. No power-play goals for Ilves. However, right at the moment Jukurit got its fifth player back on the rink Ilves´ defender Santeri Salmela passed the puck straight to Eemeli Suomi who scored 2-0 for Ilves at 14:34.
Ilves was clearly the one in control of the game and after the starting period its 2-0 lead was very well deserved.
The second period a total flop for Ilves
A rough start for us. Jukurit scored already in the first minute. It took a while for the referee to check the video recordings, however, a score was recorded for Teemu Pulkkinen at 20:58.
Ilves had its scoring opportunities which, however, were all blocked by Sami Rajamäki. Unlike in the first period, Jukurit now had a clear control over the game. At 26:41 Kristian Afanasjev´s targeted shot found the net and the game was now 2-2.
At 29:35 Jukurit Samuli Piipponen received a two minutes penalty and Ilves got another 5-on-4 advantage. Ilves used it well and was active on the rink, however, no goals for the away team.
Although Ilves continued having some decent scoring opportunities. it was Jukurit who got to celebrate also the next goal in front of its own home crowd. Ville Leskinen hit the net staright from the opening at 33:28 and suddenly Jukurit took the lead by 3-2.
Ilves´pitch-black second period continued after Barrett Hayton being sentenced to a penalty box. Moreover, only shortly after Tuomas Salmela received another two minutes thereby deepening the struggle of Ilves. Jukurit seized their opportunity and Jesper Piitulainen hit the net past Ilves´ goalie. Jukurit increased their lead already to 4-2.
What a disastrous second period for Ilves. 4 goals for Jukurit and none for Ilves.
Towards the final period
Ilves entered the third and the final period with some power-play seconds left. Only after a short moment, at 40:31, a sharp wrister by Arttu Ruotslainen past the Jukurit goalie and Ilves´ third goal was there. Two assists were recorded, one for Eemeli Suomi and the other for Kalle Majalahti.
While Ilves was putting much pressure on the home team´s side, Joakim Rhodim succeeded in scoring and it was now already 5-3 for Jukurit. You cannot really blame Ilves´ goalie Ville Kolppanen for these setbacks but as unfortunate as it sounds, almost all of those scoring opportunities Jukurit got, they paid off.
Another 5-4 power-play chance was opened up for Ilves at 43:35. No goals however. Right after Ilves´ Lassi Thomson was penalized and surprisingly, Ilves really somewhat dominated the game while playing short-handed.
A little less than three minutes before the final whistle Ville Kolppanen was taken off from his net while Ilves was desperately seeking for those few more goals. Regardless of its dominance, Ilves was left empty-handed.
In the end, it was a well deserved victory for the home team in Mikkeli. Jukurit 5 – Ilves 3, resulting in the end of Ilves´ winning streak.