The home team Sibir was before Monday’s game in a winning-streak of four games. During that streat Sibir goaltenders had kept their net clean twice. In the most recent game Sibir defeated CSKA Moscow – one of the top teams in the whole KHL. The game on Monday was the second match-up between the teams in this regular season. In the first game Jokerit was better by score 4–3 at their home ice.
There weren’t many goals or even chances to score in the whole game, but still the events on the ice made the match remain exciting to the very end. Jokerit took the points with 2–0 win.
”We had a tough home team against us as they had won their four last games. We weren’t at our best on battles and passing game, but we managed to improve our game. We found a way to win through willingness to battle. We have gained a good thing on our defencive game with all five players. We scored two goals and Juvonen was great at his work post”, said Jokerit head coach Lauri Marjamäki in the press conference after the game.
Jokerit got the game’s first scoring chance, when Sibir’s Finnish defenceman Jyrki Jokipakka gave an unsuccessful pass in own zone. However, another Finn, goaltender Harri Säteri managed to prevent the puck from going into the net.
As the period went on Jokerit got a bit more puck possession. Sibir were able to have a few counter-attacks and even a couple of times they had some momentum deep in the visitors zone. Scoring chances the home team coulnd’t create in the opening moments.
The home team got their game going eventually and the events on the ice flew towards Juvonen. Despite the increased active offensive game by Sibir, didn’t Jokerit have difficulties to keep their line-up tight and not let the opponent close to the net. It was clearly noticeable that Sibir is one of the teams in the KHL that allows or scored the least amount of goals.
Jokerit started the second period well, using the whole width of the ice in order to get attacks deep into the opponent’s zone. Also the first time to play with special forces came in the first minutes of the period. Ilya Morozov cross-checked Kalle Kossila near the end boards. Although, Jordan Schroeder evened the forces with his own minor penalty.
When playing four on four, Jokerit got the momentum in to Sibir zone. Nicklas Jensen stayed to the puck long time as he was trying to find space to cross to th net. The reckless times continued shortly after, as Jokerit had six players on the ice – causing a penalty. This time special forces were real. Still, KHL’s lousiest power play by Sibir couldn’t get the puck even near Juvonen’s net. Petteri Lindbohm’s shot from a counter-attack was way closer to create the first goal of the match.
Just after having a golden opportunity to take the lead in the game, did Sibir defenceman Michal Cajkovsky take a penalty by grabbing Teemu Turunen by the shoulder and pulling him down to the ice. On power play Jokerit managed to create good screen in front of Säteri, but the Finn still managed to catch the pucks shot.
The Helsinki team got to start the third period on power play as Sibir took a minor penalty on the last seconds of the second period. The goals were still on tight and both netminders held on to their chance of keeping the net clean.
Hannes Björninen opened the scoring for the game. The puck was turned from behind the net and the centerman got plenty of free space to defeat Säteri. Sibir’s defencemen were both overly active in covering other Jokerit players. Jokipakka, who had a difficult night in total, was in a main role of the allowed goal in Sibir’s side. Jokerit captain Marko Anttila received his 100th KHL point giving an assist to the goal.
”There was a good forecheck there and Anttila saw me well in front of the net. We read each other well in the situation”, the scorer of the game-winning goal thought.
Jokerit got the control to the game once they got the lead in score. Also Sibir made their opponent’s job a bit easier with undisciplined actions. Even, when the puck was in Jokerit zone, it was always the visitor’s player that was first on it. Sibir got a chance on power play. On two occasions the home team pushed the game towards Juvonen, but wasn’t able to capitalize. Säteri was even pulled to the bench and the team played on six against four for a while.
”It was a very tight game. Especially in the beginning the opponent played well and put pressure on us. We were resilient and improved our game. We believed in our own thing and thus got the result out”, Björninen wondered.
Sometimes scoring only one goal can win a hockey game. Sibir put all in on the last minutes of the game, but the Helsinki team threw their bodies in front of the shots and swept the puck away every time, when given the chance. David Sklenicka scored 2–0 goal for Jokerit in the last minute after serving his minor penalty.
”Well, we took a few penalties there, but we fought and defended well. Juvonen was great at the net and it’s great that he got a shutout today”, Björninen said about the deciding moments of the game.
Jokerit will continue their games on tour, as they will next fly to Kazakstan and compete against the local Barys on Wednesday.
”I’m feeling great about that game. Now we’ll just recover from this game. We need to be able to improve from today. We just try to play better and trust that the result will follow”, the Jokerit forward concluded.