HIFK Helsinksi Drops To SaiPa In 3-1 Loss
Editor's note: Antti Kivinen has joined Hockey Shopped as our foreign correspondent based in Finland
It was an all too familiar story for HIFK this season. SaiPa outskated HIFK to take an easy 3-1 win. Perreault assisted HIFK's only goal on power play on a pass to Joel Perrault (no direct relation other than they are good friends). HIFK had 6 key players missing from the roster tonight, including the team captain Ville Peltonen. Surely that was a factor to the poor performance, but not an excuse. HIFK's goalie Joni Ortio had a bad start to the game and SaiPa gained relatively easy 2-0 lead in the 1st. The end of the period was filled with power plays for both teams but neither one was able to score. Although HIFK had 44 shots to SaiPa's 35, the amount of power plays resulted only to the fact that both teams struggled to get their 5-on-5 game going.
SaiPa is a fast skating team, where as HIFK's roster is relatively slow this season. With the two goal lead, SaiPa was able to control the game by simply skating by using every bit of the ice to control the puck. HIFK's start in the 2nd was a better one. They quickly gained momentum that resulted in a power play. At 03:43 (2nd) Matty passed to Joël Perrault, who scored the opener for HIFK. After the goal it seemed that HIFK would finally get their game going, but at 13:39 a mistake in HIFK's defending zone resulted to 3-1 goal for SaiPa. After the third SaiPa goal HIFK just froze. The rest of the game was a series of HIFK's anxious efforts to get back in to the game. To put things into more of a dire perspective, their next opponent HPK on Friday, just beat SaiPa 6-1. Based on today's effort that would mean HPK would win 18-3 (fuzzy math we know).
Matty P's performance tonight:
He did what he could as the 2nd line center, but most of the game his wingers were clearly not in tune with him. Both Eero Somervuori and Markus Granlund didn't play at the level they should at this point. (Part of that stems from the bigger problem that is the lack of leadership in the team and poor playbook. HIFK just struggles night after night to get over the neutral zone with the puck.) Matty got a lot of power play minutes and clocked a TOI of 21.35 but late in the game had committed a penalty that sent him to the box for 2 minutes. He has 4 minutes in 3 games and has started to become the guy that will skate hard and protect the puck. He obviously doesn't yet feel the full weight of the teams downturn and is able to put up an energetic performance. On the time he has been in Helsinki, he has 3 assists and no goals. I just hope that the rest of the team would start to follow his example really soon.
From Finland, hyvää yötä!