Ilves wins close game over HIFK 1-0
Photo via Anette Naroma
A huge disappointment at Tampere. Ilves tops HIFK 1-0 despite the support of thousand HIFK fans.
After the win on Friday, HIFK traveled to Tampere to face Ilves. Some thousand fans had also traveled to Tampere to give their support. Ilves' season has been a bad one. The team is stuck on the last position in the league troubled also with financial problems. However earlier this week Ilves got major reinforcement to its roster, as Daniel Paille (Boston) joined the squad on Wednesday. Max Talbot (Philadelphia) had joined the team earlier in the autumn.
Scoring in away games has been a major problem for HIFK this season. It ranks last in the away goals standings with only 25 away goals in total in 15 games. On the other hand scoring at home has been major difficulty for Ilves as it ranks second to last in home game scoring standings.
HIFK had a decent start, but two unnecessary penalties in the offensive zone turned the momentum completely to Ilves. At 13:17 Ilves was given an opportunity to take the lead on 5-on-3 power play, but HIFK's penalty killing was outstanding and the game stayed tied through out the first period. Shots on goal 18-8 to Ilves.
In the second, momentum slowly shifted to HIFK, however Ilves' net stayed untouched. It was Matty's line that was able to create the best opportunities but failed to put the final touch to it. Surprisingly in the last two minutes the momentum shifted again to Ilves, but HIFK's goalie Joni Ortio made sure that neither Ilves was able to score during the second. Shots on goal 15-28 to HIFK illustrates the shift of control from the first.
The first ten minutes of the third period was the most entertaining phase of the game as both teams were making serious efforts to take lead. After some 8 minutes of coast to coast hockey it seemed for a while that HIFK was about to take command again, but Markus Granlund's unnecessary foul in the offensive zone at 07:35 sent Ilves to power play. With only 10 seconds of power play left Ville Koistinen sent a wrist shot from the blue line and Michael Keränen reflected it in the net. Such a late opening goal left HIFK seemingly distressed and it was Ilves who got the pressure back to HIFK's end. After the shock HIFK got organized for one last push and they were given a good opportunity at 17:24 as Ilves' Antti Kangasniemi was given 2 minutes from boarding. At 18:09 HIFK pulled the goalie and tried to tie the game with 6-on-4, but Ilves' penalty killing led by Talbot and Paille, withstood HIFK's charge. Another disappointing away game for HIFK. The overall performance wasn't as bad as on wednesday and for some parts it was a bit better than on friday but the sewer scoring problem and of course good play by Ilves' goalie Anders Lindbäck sealed the game for Ilves
Mathieu's performance tonight:
After a great effort on Friday Matty's line was given a lot of ice time. Matty had a TOI of 21:24 tonight and 3 shots on goal. His line was able to create most of the scoring chances, in particularly in the second period, but the team failed to finish off those chances. Matty played most of HIFK's power play but wasn't able to find Joël or Arttu Luttinen with his passes like on Friday.
Finnish league (SM-Liiga) heads for a week long break. The major European national teams are having a European Hockey Tour tournament in Moscow next weekend. HIFK returns to action on the 18th of December with a home game against TPS. As the lockout negotiations seemed to go south at the last minute, there might be a chance, that HIFK gets to enjoy Mathieu's services for at least few more games.
According to the rumors, HIFK will replace the head coach Pasi Sorumen during the break.
Signing out from Helsinki
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