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Ilves grabs a point after a wild third period

Kalle Karlsson

Ilves scored twice without a goalie at the end of the regulation, but Tappara won the local derby after penalty shots.

It sure was an entertaining matchup between the two teams representing the ”Finnish hockey capital.” The atmosphere was right on point as there was no empty seats. What made the setting even more interesting, both Ilves and Tappara are competing for the first place on the stands and seeking a strong finish before the postseason begins.

”Friday and a local derby. What a perfect combination!” -Part of a discussion between two gentlemen outside of Hakametsä before the match.

Although Tappara scored the first goal, Ilves came right back after Eemeli Suomi deflected the perfect pass of Oskari Laaksonen past Tappara’s goalkeeper Michael Garteig. Despite the inefficient powerplay of Ilves, the first period was tight. It was obvious that neither of the teams wanted to make unforced errors with the puck, which resulted cautious and risk-avoiding game. The character of the first period had to be Ilves’ captain, Suomi, as he scored a goal and worked hard with and without the puck.

The second period was Tappara’s period without a doubt. They managed to score a goal and after two periods Tappara led 1-2. At the same time, Ilves struggled once again on the powerplay and they seemed even a bit frustrated after Tappara had scored. Lassi Thomson took a sloppy penalty within a minute after Tappara’s goal, which gave the momentum to the away team. A few minutes before the end of the second period, there was a sort of a scramble in front of Tappara’s goal crease involving Suomi and Adam Polasek. Both the referees and Polasek felt that Suomi interfered Tappara’s goalie and as a result both players watched the rest of the period from penalty boxes. This event, however, gave something for the audience to talk about during the intermission as the atmosphere started to heat up.

I have to point out the fact that overall the game was clean and it was clear that both teams respected each other. Also, the fans didn’t try to provoke the opposite fan corners. Moreover, they were focused on cheering their own team towards victory and all the singing and chanting lasted throughout the whole game. I would have to say that Ilves’ fans had the edge on Friday – the tifo they presented at the beginning of the match was something special.

Tappara gave an example of how the powerplay should be played as Anton Levtchi finished a textbook passing combination at 42:18. It seemed that the game is over but Ilves rose from two goal deficit into a tie only couple of minutes before the end of the regulation. At 58:26, Suomi scored his second of the night and at 59:34, Matias Maccelli electrified Hakametsä with a game-tying goal. Ilves had a decent opportunity to end the game in overtime but the powerplay didn’t capitalize.

”Penalty shots? Yeah, they can go either way.” -A fan when Lukáš Dostál prepared himself for the shootout.

Overall, the local derby offered excitement, goals, a few controversial penalties and much more. If you happen to be a newbie when it comes to ice hockey, here’s a handy tip: if you can see dozens of yellow and green scarfs and blue and orange scarfs in the centrum of Tampere, there is a big potential that there is a local derby tonight in Hakametsä.

Lätkäehtoo: Ilves-Tappara 31.1.2020
Tampere – the battlefield of two teams