The Helsinki team got Kalle Kossila back in the line up, after the skilled and efficient forward missed two weeks due to injury. Anders Lindbäck started in the net for Jokerit.
Severstal had also been playing well recently, as they had won four consecutive games. What is notable, the team hadn’t allowed over a goal in any of those victorious games. On their two last games the visitors for Friday’s game hadn’t allowed a single goal. Konstantin Shostak and Dmitri Shugayev had been excellent on their post.
”We knew that the opponent defends hard. Especially on the first ten minutes the pace was high. We managed to get the control as Severstal got a bit passive. We were able to make shifts while having the puck, got some long sequences in the offensive zone and scored a few power play goals”, Kossila mentioned after the game.
Jokerit put up a massive offensive performance and scored the needed goals in order to keep their victorious season going. The end result was 4–1 in favor of the home team.
”We knew that the opponent was going to be tough as they had won four games in a row and let only two goals. We were good today and it was marvellous to watch, when everybody is working their butts off on the ice”, said Jokerit head coach Lauri Marjamäki.
Jokerit started the game with a very high forecheck – giving pressure to Severstal defencemen deep in their own zone. Shostak had to be constantly aware about what was going on around his net. On the other hand, when Severstal got their offensive game going on, Jokerit were ready to block the neutral zone efficiently.
Kossila’s line with Markus Hännikäinen and Teemu Turunen on the wings started where they left off before the centerman went absent. Also Nicklas Jensen showed his ability to cross the ice. After a great solo effort the Danishman smashed himself to the boards and seemingly hurt himself a little.
Also Severstal got their momentum on the first period. Especially their first like got the pressure to offensive zone. Robin Press, who was awarded as the best defenceman in Finnish league last season, got to use his heavy shot, but Lindbäck stopped the puck with confidence.
Emotions surfaced already in the first period. After Niklas Friman sent a shot towards Severstal goal, the visitor’s defencemen wanted to show the Jokerit forwards who was the boss in front of the net. The first penalty was given to Jokerit for having too many players on the ice. Vladislav Kodola capitalized the power play right when it started with a sharp wrister.
Jokerit received their second penalty, when Jesse Joensuu cross-checked Nikolai Timashov near the boards and a bit outside of the game. Against the odds, Jokerit managed to score short-handed. Brian O’Neill crossed over to the net and Teemu Turunen put the rebound to the back of the net.
The period had a bit negative kind of an end for Jokerit as defenceman Otto Leskinen went early to the locker room after getting some sort of a hit.
Jokerit got a chance for a power play right from the get-go in the second period. The home team scored the leading goal, when Iiro Pakarinen scooped the puck into the net after a rumble in front of Shostak. The power play was only a pre-show about what was there to come later in the period.
The home team was able to create long attacks to the offensive zone, making Severstal’s defencemen get tired. The visitors were in trouble and didn’t get much of their own game going during the second period. The puck control remained for the home team most of the time.
When Jokerit got the game in their hands, they were able to stay more stable in the neutral zone and they didn’t need to rush to forechecking. John Norman got a perfect chance to add the lead of Jokerit, but the shot went wide.
The one thing that showed the Jokerit dominance true the best, was the fact that Severstal got only one shot against Lindbäck on the Helsinki team’s net in the second period.
Even in the lead Jokerit were able to keep the puck to themselves in the first minutes of the third period. The only opportunity Severstal really got was, when Robert Rooba almost ran in breakaway. He afterall ended up losing the puck.
Severstal were able to get back in the game, when Jokerit did a few mistakes and were unaware on the puck. Lindbäck had to make a few big saves, because Jokerit players lost pucks in own zone. The visitors tried to get the advantage by putting one forward very deep in offence, in case of loose pucks.
Jensen had a chance to put the numbers up to 3–1, but the pucks didn’t quite go into the net. However, Jokerit gained their momentum back after the scoring opportunity. Also Kossila was very close to score, but Severstal defenceman Nikita Makeyev managed to get in the way – causing a penalty, and powerplay for Jokerit.
”It surely is fun to play that kind of hockey. We have four strong lines and that’s why it’s working. We are capable of having 30–40 second shifts one after another with high pace. In offensive zone we get to control the puck”, Kossila said.
Playing in the special forces both Veli-Matti Savinainen and Philip Holm had opportunities, but Shostak denied on both occasions. Severstal players were able to throw the puck back to Jokerit zone and so keeping it a tight hockey game. As Severstal took another minor penalty right after the previous one, did Pakarinen put his wristshot in action. The shot went right to the top back corner of the net, giving the home team the well-earned two-goal lead.
Jokerit were able to keep the control of the game in the last few minutes. Otto Leskinen shot the puck to the net and O’Neill managed to clarify the result with a good goal, putting his stick in the flying course of the puck.
”We didn’t get frustrated in the second period. This was one of our best performances this season. It is great to be a part of such team that plays for each other like that”, Marjamäki stated.
Jokerit got their eleventh consecutive win, even though Severstal battled defencively as hard as they could. However, the visitors weren’t able to put on the needed offensive game, and therefore Jokerit took the points, when the buzzer ended the regular time. The result meant that Severstal’s four-game winning streak came to an end.
”Our confidence is high of course, but I am especially happy with the way we won. We worked hard on both ends of the ice and didn’t get frustrated. Tomorrow we rest and on Sunday we get back to work before flying to Chelyabinsk”, Marjamäki concluded.
The regular season will continue for the Helsinki team on Monday, as Jokerit will travel to Chelyabinsk to play against Traktor.
”This was just one game after my return and there are tough games to come. We had a lot of chances, so we could’ve scored a couple more goals. We play with a high confidence and it’s good to go on tour having this spirit going”, Kossila wrapped up the Severstal game, in which he was able to collect the primary assist to the game-winning goal in the second period.