After a break I’m back to my computer and I’ve a lot of catching up to do, firstly congratulations to the Ilves Futsal team, Champions once again! Also the Ilves football season has kicked off, we’ve currently played 3 games in Ykkönen division having lost one, drawn one and last night we finally won one! I’ve archived the SM-Liiga poll which had Tappara as the top rated team to lift the Championship, thankfully we were wrong on that! (Kiitos Ässät) I’ve added a new poll, it’s Summer so things will be focused mainly on football as our hockey and futsal teams take a much needed rest.
I’ve also missed the chance to talk about MM-Kisat here, which is probably a very good thing judging by the way things played out, but we’re going to pick up Olympic gold next year, with Rask in goal how could we not. Talking of Rask, I’m sure all the Ilves fans will join me in hoping the Boston Bruins win the Stanley Cup this season, I’m not 100% sure, but maybe one of the older Ilves fans could let me know if Daniel Paille would be the first person to play with Ilves and win the Stanley Cup in the same year, that would be an amazing achievement and also it’s likely that this time Rask would bring the cup through Tampere if they were to be successful.
I’ve a lot of catching up to do, our next game is away against PK-35 Vantaa on 27.5.
Ladies and gentleman, I give to you Still your reigning, defending, Futsal Champions of Finland, Ilves.
To have a 2-0 lead in a best of 5 series where the opponents have the home advantage is a superb achievement, we are just one more win from retaining our championship title. Everybody said that KaDy would win this with ease after their runaway dominance in the regular season, but we are the Play-Off experts, and dumped them out in the semi-finals without conceding a goal. KaDy won the bronze medal game on Saturday by defeating Sievi 8-4.
So to our match then, a strong home support filled out Spiral-Halli for game 2 of the series and only had to wait 3 minutes before the opening goal, Jaakko Laitinen holding off three GFT players before laying the ball off to an on-rushing Petri Grönholm who drilled the ball through the legs of the goalie, the perfect start. Soon after we scored again, 5.25 Valtteri Similä beating a defender and from outside of the box curled the ball so well that it didn’t hit the back of the net, but beat the keeper to curve just inside the post, beautiful solo goal.
At this point Ilves were totally in control, and at 10.29 of the first half we scored from a well worked corner, Simo Martiskainen with great vision crossing it in for Jaakko Laitinen to run infront of the keeper and just deflect it behind him from a meter out, 3-0 up already and you just can’t see GFT getting back into this game… but they did. The second half was just one minute in before GFT scored straight from a corner, the Ilves defence didn’t look ready and Autio’s pass to the unmarked Henrik Henriksson (his parents didn’t have much imagination) who unchallenged, slotted it into the bottom corner, 3-1.
Myself and Ipalandi were both commenting at half time about how Ilves had only conceded one goal in the last 3.5 games of Play-Off futsal, well that was ironic as just 34 seconds after the first GFT goal, they scored again, Lumivaara running down the win to pull it back for Lasse Lind to power it in, 3-2 and the crowd are not as confident as in the first half and neither was I. GFT tied the game up at 3-3 a few minutes later, once again from a corner and once again poor Ilves defending, the corner was passed out to Henriksson who was again unmarked as he shot from far out, his shot this time was saved, but the rebound fell perfectly to Lumivaara who scored with ease.
We got lucky and due to a terrible pass from a GFT defender, Juhana Jyrkiäinen pounced on the loose ball to score, a terrible goal to lose for GFT but a huge relief for us to score, the time was 26.13, still a lot of time left for things to change though. There wasn’t another goal until GFT were forced to take their keeper off for the extra attacker, but that didn’t work out well for them as Juha-Pekka Torvinen scored from his own penalty area into the empty net, 5-3 with less than one and a half minutes on the clock. GFT had no choice but to keep their goalie on the bench and push for a miracle, but just seconds after the restart Ilves scored again, Majamaa setting up Timur Inapshba for the easiest of goals into the empty net, 6-3 the final score.
Get your tickets and travel to what will hopefully be the Championship decider, 25 € for bus and game ticket package, this saturday from Tampere Linja-autoasema. All details on the ilves site here http://www.ilvesfs.fi/uutinen.php?id=485 or via their facebook or twitter page, it’s not a game to be missed.
Ladies and gentleman I present to you, Still your reigning, defending Finnish Champions, Ilves!
What a perfect start to the best of five series against GFT, the team that finished second in the regular season table, we are in the position where we are the road team and must win away from home and just like the last round against KaDy, we started off with that crucial away victory.
Our MVP for the Play-Off’s has without doubt been Timur Inapshba and it was his ball through to Valtteri Similä that gave us the lead 16.57 into the game, we held on to that lead through into the second half where things just got better, it only took until 22.36 for us to be celebrating again, Similä becoming the assist man this time setting up Juhana Jyrkiäinen for 2-0, we were looking good for the win at this point.
Of course 2-0 is never a scoreline to sit on and wait, so naturally we pressed for a third, and we got it just 2 minutes and 14 seconds after Jyrkiäinen’s goal, Juhana took his turn at assisting as his pass went to Simo Martiskainen who volleyed in for our third, a 3-0 lead now and the game was all but over.
It could have been more, Inapshba got hauled down on his way to goal by Risto Salmi of GFT who was red carded for the challange and Ilves went on the powerplay with 4 minutes to go, we were happy just to see out this victory and keep a clean sheet, but with just 2 seconds left on the clock, GFT spoiled our clean sheet when Teemu Terho scored at 39.58.
We’ve let in just one goal in our last 3 games, this is Championship form, our next game is Today (Saturday) in my old local area of Kaukajärvi, Tampere. Hopefully the Spiral-Halli will be sold out and bouncing!
It’s all over, Jukurit put up a better fight than Sport and Jokipojat before them, but in the end we were just too good.
After the 7-4 defeat we had to end this in game 5, everything fell apart at the end of the first period when Asplund put Jukurit 1-0 ahead on the powerplay. Everybody was thinking that we were going to throw away the chance to put Jukurit away but thankful the doubt didn’t last long when our front three of Sointu, Kantola and Antti Kangasniemi worked together to get us the equalising goal early in the second period. Just over three minutes passed before we scored again, Tommi Välimaa keeping his impressive form going against the Mestis Champions with his go-ahead-goal.
The third period started with us leading 2-1 just needing to keep the puck out of our net to ensure our SM-Liiga survival. Antti Hölli scored at 53:01 which turned out to be the game winning goal, but Jukurit earning lots of respect with their attitude, they never give up and they came back to make it 3-2 when Päsi Järvinen scored with three minutes remaining. Jukurit then threw everyone forward, Bernard taken off the ice and fortunately for us we were able to take advantage of that as Niko Peltola scored an empty net goal, Ilves win 4-2 and complete the series with 4 wins to Jukurit’s 1.
Jukurit you did great, scoring 11 and conceding 13 which for a team that lost the series 4-1 is not a bad overall score and shows how close they pushed us, I hope you have a good season next year in Mestis and hopefully we’ll see you take on SaiPa, Pelicans, TPS… Anyone but Ilves next year, as we’ll be in the Play-offs.
Kiitos kaudesta jätkät!
Any ilves fans at a loose end for sport, go support our futsal team in the final this weekend and get ready for the Ilves football season to start!
We all thought this would be the last game of the series but Jukurit having only scored twice in the first 3 games shocked everyone by scoring 7 in Game.4
It was the 200 travelling Ilves fans that were cheering first though as a Sointu backhanded pass set up Antti Hölli to one time it passed Bernard, 0-1 after 4:37. Then came the Jukurit backlash, firstly Jesse Rohtla getting lucking at the back post with his scuffed shot deflected into the net. Next up was a powerful goal right into the top right hand corner of Kolppanen’s goal scored by Jani Savolainen just before the end of the first period.
The second period started with Ville Koistinen going into the penalty box and Jukurit then making it 3-1, Jesse Juntheikki scoring a routine powerplay goal by making some space for himself and then following it up wrist shot into the net. Now for the Ilves comeback? No, Turo Asplund skated in fast passed the sleeping Ilves defence and controlled the pass from Rohtla with his skate before slamming in the goal right under the stand full of Ilves fans who were wondering where their team who were on an 8-game winning run had disappeared to. We finally scored again when Kai Kantola scored from Mäkelä’s rebounded shot off Bernard, 4-2 and the away fans raise the noise level right on then 30 min mark. Shortly afterwards, another goal back for Ilves, we catch Jukurit on the counter attack with a 2 on 1 rush, Välimaa passing across to Lassi Kokkala to easily make it 4-3 and the momentum is back with us as the period ends.
Only two and a half minutes into the third period and we complete the comeback, 4-4! Välimaa again with the assist, passing it back out to Niko Peltola who just inside the blue line fires in hard and it goes straight passed a blinded Bernard, the mask working perfectly and now it feels like it’s just a matter of time before we wrap this game and series up. That feeling lasted all of 50 seconds because after chaos in the Ilves defence and a sprawling Kolppanen slightly out of his net, Samuli Piipponen picked up the puck and backhanded it in from a tight angle into an empty net, 5-4.
The tenth goal of the game came again to Jukurit and it wasn’t any defensive problems this time but a good pass from Savolainen into Patrik Lostedt who turned well and put it between the legs of Kolppanen, good goal and to be fair a deserved lead, all over now at 56:00. With nothing to lose, Ville Kolppanen comes out of goal for the extra attacker, Jesse Rohtla then scores unassisted into the empty net and we will go again Tuesday night at Hakametsä halli.
The winning streak extends to 8 games as we took until a jatkoerä 4th period to defeat Jukurit for the third time, this was hopefully the last game of the season in Hakametsä for us as we should complete the series on Saturday away in Mikkeli.
Our defence has let in only two goals in the three game, mostly thanks to Ville Kolppanen’s excellent goaltending, Jukurit scored first in game two and they scored first in this game as well, Henrik Koivisto scoring after a penalty by Mika Viinanen put them on the powerplay. The Jukurit lead only lasted 68 seconds though, Tommi Välimaa equalised unassisted.
The third period was just like the first, no goals but lots of chances, it took until 73:33 into jatkoerä that Michael Keränen assisted by Kangasniemi and Koistinen ended the game with his shot that caught out Bernard in goal. Once again Jukurit play very well and give us a tough game but in the end we are always too good for them. Just one more victory needed to seal our place in SM-Liiga for next season and I fully expect it to be on Saturday.
Kolppanen 9+6+8+4= 27 Bernard 9+10+8+10= 37
That wasn’t easy but in the end we got the win and continue our winning streak and go 2 up in the series.
Jani Savolainen scored the opening goal, Ilves had just served a 2 minute penalty from Atte Pentikäinen and the defence was all over the place as Savolainen had time to drill a shot at Kolppanen who saved it but couldn’t stop the rebound going in on his near side. The second period was goalless but filled with penalties for both sides.
Ilves scored the equalising goal early in the third period, Lassi Kokkala leveled it up coming from behind the goal with a backhand shot that beat Bernard through his legs. On 50 minutes Ilves scored the winning goal, Jukurit were about to have a player sent to the penalty box so Kolppanen came off the ice and the extra attacker came on, Peltola and Kangasniemi came close but then Antti Hölli fired it in from close range, there was some confusion if the puck had actually gone in or not it was hit so fast but the referee gave it and Ilves went ahead for the first time in the game.
The final goal was quite embarrassing for Jukurit, Ilves won the face off in our defensive zone and we broke forward with Keränen, Kokkala and Mäkinen and the Jukurit defence didn’t look like they were interested in putting in the effort and when Bernard softly poked the puck off of Kokkala’s stick it came to Konsta Mäkinen who just taps it in followed by muted celebrations.
Jukurit haven’t been a bad team at all but when you’re a Mestis team in this relegation/promotion series it is vital that you win ALL of your home games, they now need to win at least twice in Tampere if they want to stand a chance of promotion, personally I think this defeat will be a big blow for them psychologically with them knowing the task is against them, as for us, keep on scoring and this could be over and on our summer holidays within the week.
Kiitos Ilves and our fantastic goalie with 28 saves Ville Kolppanen.
An unconvincing victory, but importantly a win. Ilves lead the series 1-0 after snapping the winning streak of Mikkelin Jukurit. The Mestis Champions looked very strong however.
The game started perfectly, Tommi Välimaa scoring after 1:25 of the first period, it looked like this was going to be a massacre and an easy series that would take us nicely into our summer holidays, but that wasn’t the case at all. We had eight power play chances against the Mestis side, yet we failed to score a second goal until 59:15 when Erkki Rajamäki (Keränen, Peltola) finally sealed victory against Jukurit.
Bernard in the away goal was very good 11+6+14 and having an amount of time close to a full period where he only had 4 players in front of him. Jukurit also had chances on the attack, Kolppanen making 23 saves.
The positives: A win, the most important thing from a game in this series. A shut-out for Kolppanen. Good home support of 6309. A step closer to retaining our place in SM-Liiga.
The Negatives: Far too many missed opportunities, especially powerplay. Giving away too many penalties, 6 in total, lucky to avoid Jukurit scoring on any of those.
Game.2 is in Mikkeli on Tuesday, expect a much closer contest against a team clearly better than Sport last year or Jokipojat before them, I fully expect Ilves to win this series but would not be surprised if Jukurit won at least 1 game, especially at home.
And just like last year, Ilves are going to the Finnish Futsal League Final. We are still the reigning, defending Champions and after our 1-0 win today we will play either GFT or Sievi in the final. Sievi destroyed GFT in their second semi-final today, winning 8-0 and leveling the series at 1-1 with their deciding game being played on Saturday 23.3.
Our play-off hero Timur Inapshba was the only scorer in today’s game as we once again shut-out KaDy. In 22 regular season games KaDy won 18, drawn 3 and only lost once, so for us to beat them twice, without letting them score a single goal in our series shows that we are the most in-form play-off team.
The next home game for us will be Sunday 7.4 and that will be game 2 in the series against GFT/Sievi. Playing the extra game away from home in a series is a big disadvantage but we are playing strong enough to beat anyone right now. KaDy have had a great season though but failed to reach their third final. Ilves however are aiming for our 7th Championship. We currently have 6 Kulta (gold) we also have 3 Hopea (silver) and 1 Pronssi (bronze) achievements in our history. We’re Finland’s most successful futsal team, we are now in our tenth final which is double the amount of our nearest rivals.