The home team Admiral had played three consecutive games in the home ice – all of them had ended in losses. The team had scored only four goals in those games.
Admiral and Jokerit hadn’t matched up earlier this season, but the history between these two is a mysterious one. In last five games the one, who had played as a home team, had also left the ice with a bigger pot of points. Last season the team from Vladivostok didn’t play in KHL.
”It felt good to play. It was a morning game for us, so the preparation was a bit different. There was a good vibe going on in the stadium, even though there weren’t that many people in the audience”, Iiro Pakarinen wondered.
On Saturday Jokerit were able to improve their game throughout the game and in the end they got the points with a clear 4–1 win.
”I think we took three unnecessery penalties, but then we followed our game plan. We played in a disciplined manner and deserved the win. The most important thing in the last three games is that we have allowed only two goals”, said Jokerit head coach Lauri Marjamäki after the game.
Admiral got off with a bit better start and that caused the home team to take a quite early lead. Defenceman Dinar Khafidullin managed to defeat Janne Juvonen, who got to start at Jokerit net after a while.
Jokerit got a chance to tie the game on power play, when Vladislav Ushenin tripped Phlip Holm down in home team’s offensive zone. The visitors had some serious difficulties to get the special forces going – and just like as a punishment to a lousy power play Brian O’Neill was sent to serve a minor penalty, making Jokerit go short-handed for two minutes. Helsinki team took two more penalties just after the first one had ended.
Admiral weren’t able to capitalize on the given power plays. Surviving the tough moments, Jokerit had a good stint at the end of the first period. The fighting spirit remained and showed also when playing at full strenght. As a result, Jordan Schroeder scored on Nikita Serebryakov.
”The start wasn’t probably the best, but after the first goal we began to play better. The second period was good as we got long attacks into their zone. After that it was our game to take. We got our momentums despite the penalties. Also the power play was working nicely”, Pakarinen thought.
The beginning of the second period was a bit cautious and there were some missed passes and icing creating some irregularities in the events on the ice. Admiral didn’t get the puck deep into Jokerit zone and they were forced to just throw it toward Juvonen.
Jokerit were able to keep the puck control winning the loose pucks to themselves in the offensive zone. Serebryakov had to do a few gigantic saves at his net in order to keep the numbers tied. Admiral got into more trouble with a penalty that came.
The visitors from Finland took the lead with a power play goal scored by Pakarinen. After getting to their position, Jokerit had to defend for a while as Admiral were trying to get back on track. Still, the track mainly went only to the penalty box and not towards Jokerit goal.
”Personally the scoring hasn’t been at its best lately. In the first like 11–12 games it felt great, but then a more difficult time followed. I always try to bring in the amount of work needed, no matter which area of the game it is. Also others need to contribute as well, which they have done well. Today my shot happened to go in”, goal scorer said.
Admiral lasted their long deficiency and the game went to second intermission as the home team was trailing only with one goal. Given the events, Jokerit could’ve scored a goal or two more. Alex Grant was denied by Serebryakov on the very last minute.
Admiral were able to take the puck a few time with successful robberys on the neutral zone. Although, getting into the offensive zone was still difficult for the home team. Jokerit on the other hand were able to enter the zone, but didn’t get much done at first in the third period.
As the period went on, Jokerit were able to keep the puck in the corners of Admiral zone. Kalle Kossila battled with Vojtech Mozik so intensively that the Czech defenceman’s stick raised too high – causing him to get a penalty. A long pressuring power play was eventually successful for Jokerit. Teemu Turunen topped the puck into the net from a close distance.
The home team got a chance on man-advantage, when Markus Hännikäinen got sent to penalty box. The decision by the referees seemed to cause general wondering at Jokerit bench. As an aftermath of the special forces Julius Junttila had once again a possibility to score his first of the season.
The clock went down to zero as Jokerit kept controlling the event on the ice. The home team didn’t get much of a fight going on in the last minutes of the regular time. Nicklas Jensen put the score to its place with an empty-netter.
Jokerit returned to the winning side of ice hockey with a quite stable performance. Admiral couldn’t really offer a competitive opponent.
”This roadtrip is only once a year. We played well in Habarovsk as well, but we had troubles in scoring. I am proud of my team and about the way we’ve played”, Marjamäki concluded.
Jokerit will start to return home step by step, but still there are a few games left on the away tour. The next stop for the Helsinki team will be Novosibirsk on Monday, where they will play against Sibir.
”They will be a tough opponent. We played against them at Hartwall Arena a few weeks back. I think the challenge will get a bit harder from today. We shall recover well and probably get some training tomorrow”, Pakarinen said.