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  3. Ilves wins back-to-back games against Sport

Ilves wins back-to-back games against Sport

Kalle Karlsson

Ilves won Sport 3-6 in Vaasa on Saturday and 3-1 in Tampere on Wednesday. The team is currently on a five-game point streak.

Compared to the game that took place just a couple of days ago in Vaasa, there were a few significant roster changes. Defenseman Jarkko Parikka and forwards Arttu Ruotsalainen and Matias Maccelli were with the Finnish national team. In addition, Sport lost their scoring leader Chris DeSousa as he plays the rest of the season in Sweden.

Although Sport is currently holding the last place in Liiga, they are a hard working team and Ilves really had to fight for the three points. In general, the game was fast-paced and physical and as the score shows, pretty tight as well.

Ilves controlled the game most of the time and they had plenty of scoring chances. Lassi Thomson opened the scoring at 9:08 and ended his scoring drought, which lasted 10 games (the last time he scored was against HIFK in December 5th). Thomson was energetic and offensive-minded, recording eight shots and 16:52 ice time. Lukáš Dostál faced only one shot against in the first period.

Sport began the second period better and they tied the game at 22:19 with a powerplay goal. Eemeli Suomi got a minor penalty from slashing and Santeri Haarala’s sharp wrist shot found its way past Dostál. Ilves recovered the control of the match quickly and the momentum shifted in favour of home team. Joona Ikonen scored his tenth of the season on powerplay at 25:30 which eventually turned to be the game-winning goal. Second period offered a few beautiful passing combinations from Ilves but no goals. Thomson had a great chance to extended the lead after a long offensive shift but the slap shot went over the net.

One of the upsides had to be Ilves’ powerplay that showed a lot more potential compared to two previous home games against Tappara and Lukko. Powerplay unit had only two opportunities but it provided plenty of scoring chances and it looked more confident and more dangerous. Also, Ilves’ players did not show any signs of frustration although the match was tight. When they were at the driver’s seat, they seemed comfortable and confident. Both are good signs as the playoffs are right behind the corner.

Third period did not offer anything too fancy. Ilves showed maturity as they played smart hockey while leading the game. They minimalized the risks and strived to as long offensive shifts as possible. They didn’t take any penalties and Dostál faced just five shots (11 overall). Ikonen scored his second of the night to an empty net and Suomi recorded two assists.All in all, it was a solid performance from the home team.

”A routine victory. Three points so you should be pleased.” -Overheard conversation at the bus stop.

Ilvekselle kauden kuudes voitto Sportista
Flying sticks and referees at the match against Vaasan Sport