However, it wasn’t only happiness on tour for Jokerit, because their star forward Nicklas Jensen got himself one game panalty for headbutting. He was about to serve it against Sochi and wasn’t on the ice.
The visitors had started their regular season terribly, as they had taken a solid win only twice and one time they received an extra point in overtime. A few times they had lost in extra time as well.
It was safe to say that Jokerit came into the game as sort of a favorite to win. The home team stood its’ ground.
”We weren’t able to play with the puck in the first period and we lost some battles on the boards. The power play goal was important at the end of the period. The second period was strong as we got some long shift in the offensive zone. The opponent got tired and we scored two big goals", said Jokerit head coach Lauri Marjamäki after the game.
Jokerit started the game with a better puck contol, while Sochi tried to get scoring chances by dumping the puck to the offensive zone and chasing after it. The home team blocked the neutral zone efficiently.
Sochi got a few sharp shots towards Janne Juvonen, who was guarding Jokerit net on Saturday afternoon. For example David Rundblad and Artyom Nikolayev couldn’t get the puck where they wanted to with their attempts.
In the middle of the first period Nikita Zorkin laid a big hit on Jokerit captain Marko Anttila. It seemed that Zorkin checked tall Anttila to the head coming from such angle that the forward couldn’t see it coming. The only penalties were given to Jesse Joensuu and Janis Jaks from the aftermath brawl. It was later notable, that Anttila didn’t return to the game.
Jokerit received a power play in which they weren’t on their top level, but right after that Veli-Matti Savinainen passed the puck to Henri Ikonen to a good spot – Maxim Tretyak remained calm and dealt with the situation. Sochi got their own chance with special forces. Julius Junttila showed some character blocking a big slapshot by Rundblad.
When the visitors weren’t able to capitalize, did Jokerit push on with a couple of good shifts. With the power play received Jokerit were able to get on the scoreboard as Hannes Björninen scooped the puck behind Tretyak.
Jokerit started the second period strongly, as John Norman’s line put the pressure on Sochi’s end of the ice. As a result defenceman Otto Leskinen managed to score his first KHL goal with a nice wristshot.
The events on the ice somewhat tighter with Sochi’s power play and a good period that followed. The visitors were able to keep the pressure in offensive getting some time controlling the puck. Still Jokerit were the team to be on the driver’s seat in the bigger picture.
The further the game went, the better Jokerit were able to keep Sochi out of potential scoring chances. The home team didn’t show anything surpricing on the ice, but made sure that the opponent wasn’t able to get in the game.
The second period was already closing in, when defenceman Tommi Kivistö delivered the puck to the net. As a result Jokerit got their lead already to three goals.
”The second period was good by us and I guess my goal came as a bit of a reward there”, the goal scorer thought.
If creating offensive effort was difficult for Sochi earlier, it didn’t become any way easier in the third period. And when the visitors got their few chances, did Juvonen stop every puck coming towards him.
Junttila was one individual who had played well on Saturday. He also was the initiator of the home team’s fourth goal. Afterall it was the Swedishman Norman, who got the puck behind Tretyak. Jokerit also raised the level of their physical game again. Iiro Pakarinen gave a few big hits on the end boards.
Sochi got themselves on the scoreboard, when Bogdan Yakimov shot the puck behind Juvonen, who had played yet another good game.
The home team took control of the game again, when the regular time was coming to an end. Sochi ruined even their smallest chance for comeback with fragile mental control and not being able to score from chances. Only a minute before the end Igor Rudenkov scored, making the final result 4–2 in favor of Jokerit.
”It’s a fact that the last 10 minutes weren’t good. I don’t know what happened, but the opponent got chances and scored a couple of goals”, Kivistö concluded.
Jokerit got already their ninth win in a row. This time the points came after a solid performance, and the opponent wasn’t really that close to jeopardize the home team’s game plan.
”After the 4–0 goal we stepped off the gas pedal a bit, which wasn’t a good thing. Two setback goals were frustrating. Now we will recover and be ready on Wednesday”, coach Marjamäki stated.
Jokerit will continue their season next week, when they face Ak Bars Kazan in Helsinki on Wednesday.
”We’ve been promised a day off tomorrow, but then we will get back to work. We’ll work out and go to the gym a bit”, told Kivistö about the plans for the days before the next game.
If Jokerit wins the game agains Ak Bars on Wednesday, the Helsinki team will reach 10 consecutive wins in regular season