Ilves was beaten 4–2 by the Stavanger Oilers in the last CHL group stage game. Group winners Fribourg-Gottéron and second-placed Red Bull Salzburg advance to the CHL playoffs.
Ilves on top in the first
Ilves had a good shift in the second minute and goaltender Henrik Holm was tested by shots by Tommi Tikka and Joonas Oden. Ilves defenseman Dominik Masin was given a two-minute penalty at 3.45 but the home team couldn’t cause Ilves much trouble on the powerplay.
In the eight minute Ilves’ first line moved the puck well and Jarkko Parikka had a chance to shoot from the blueline. Petri Kontiola reacted to the rebound at the goal-mouth but goaltender Holm was able to cover to puck. A couple of minutes later Joonas Oden’s speed allowed him to crash the net but the forward couldn’t produce a proper shot under pressure. Moments before the midway of the period Matias Mäntykivi produced Jani Nyman a decent chance between the circles but his shot deflected off the defenseman’s stick.
At 10.01 the Stavanger team was given a penalty for too many players on the ice and Ilves got its first powerplay. The first powerplay line moved the puck well but Holm saved the shots by Les Lancaster and Joona Ikonen. In the 15th minutes Dominik Masin hard shot from the hash mark but Holm made a glove save.
The next chance finally produced the opening goal. Jani Nyman got space on the left and fired a hard shot into the top left corner. The puck deflected in off the post and gave Ilves a 0–1 lead at 15.57. The assist were given Matias Mäntykivi and Balazs Sebok.
Ilves could only enjoy the lead until the next shift, however. Thomas Berg Paulsen gave a good pass and Tommy Kristiansen put the puck in from close range and tied the game at 1–1 at 16.13.
Balazs Sebok was hit in the face by an Oilers player’s stick but the home team survived without an obvious penalty. Ilves controlled the first period and won the shot on goal 4–17 but the game was 1–1 at the buzzer.
More even in the second period
Three minutes into the second period Stavanger’s Ludvig Hoff used an Ilves defenseman as a screen but his shot went wide. Repeating the game in Tampere, Stavanger again got more into the game in the second where the game more more even and the home team also was able to create pressure in the Ilves’ defensive zone.
In the eight minute Matias Mäntykivi showed an example of his individual skills but couldn’t finish his coast-to-coast solo.
The next scoring chance in the other end of the rink produced a 2–1 lead for the Oilers as Tommy Kristiansen redirected defenseman Daniel Rokseth’s shot in. The forward scored his second of the night at 29.57.
A minute later Joonas Oden demonstrated his speed again and got himself into a shooting position but Henrik Holm made a save on the forward’s shot. Moments later Ilves got shorthanded as Tommi Tikka got a penalty for boarding at 31.49. The home played a decent powerplay but couldn’t add to their lead.
Ilves scored a vital 2–2 game-tying goal at 35.22. After having a great start of the season, Joona Ikonen scored again as he got control of the loose puck between the circles and fired the puck home for his fourth goal in the CHL.
Karri Aho had a good chance to give Ilves the lead moments later but Henrik Holm made a save after the defenseman had got closer to the net from the blueline. Stavanger’s Patrick Ulriksen received a penalty for tripping at 37.48 but Ilves couldn’t capitalize on the powerplay. and the game remained tied at 2–2 after two periods.
Oilers come up on top
Ilves’ first line played a fine direct attack in the beginning of the third period. Eemeli Suomi’s and Petri Kontiola’s passes generated Joona Ikonen a chance to shoot but the puck went over the net. In the sixth minute Kontiola set up a play to defenseman Tuomas Salmela who was joining the rush but Henrik Holm denied his shot. Shortly Ikonen got another shot but the Norwegian goaltender kept the game tied.
At 47.09 Dan Kissel gave Ilves a cold shower as the forward sneaked in a shot from the corner behind the goal line and gave Oilers a 3–2 lead.
Midway through the period the home team got an odd-man rush but Christoffer Karlsen’s shot hit the side netting. In the other end Santeri Virtanen’s deke gave him space to shoot but the puck went wide left.
The next penalties were given at 52.12. when Ilves defensemen Otto Latvala and Leo Lööf and Oilers forward Tommy Kristiansen received minors. Joona Ikonen set up a great chance for Tommi Tikka while shorthanded but Tikka’s shot didn’t find its way between the posts. In the second half of the penalty Ikonen got himself a chance as well but an Oilers defenseman was able to distract the Ilves forward whose shot was saved by Henrik Holm.
Ilves almost stroke back after returning full strength but Les Lancaster’s shot from Petri Kontiola’s pass and attempts from a rebound didn’t produce a game-tying goal. Ilves pulled off the goalie, Marek Langhamer, and sent in a sixth skater already at 56.39. One and a half minutes before the end Joona Ikonen got a chance to shoot after some quick passing but the forward couldn’t find the net.
Head coach Antti Pennanen took a timeout at 58.33 but Ilves couldn’t find a way to tie the game anymore. Canadian forward Colton Beck’s, who played for Ilves last season, empty-netter sealed the game at 59.20.
A 4–2 loss meant that Ilves finished last in their group and the first CHL season in the club history ended after the group stage.
Group E – Final standings
Group E winners Fribourg-Gottéron secured their place in the playoffs already before the last round of games. The win over Ilves took Stavanger Oilers momentarily to the second place above Red Bull Salzburg but despite losing to Fribourg-Gottéron 3–2 after a penalty-shootout, the one point Salzburg got was enough for them to take back the second place from the Norwegian team. Thus the two teams continuing to the CHL playoffs are Fribourg-Gottéron and Red Bull Salzburg.
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