On their most recent games Jokerit had been mostly successful as they had won three of their five previous matches. Even on the times they lost, on the other they managed to get one point with them. Also looking back Severstal’s calendar it looks pretty positive. Only once they’ve left the ice as the losing team in their last five games.
Both teams are known for their brilliant penalty-killing, so it was interesting to see, what kind of a factor would the special forces have on the game.
It was quickly noticeable, that on Wednesday both teams would be efficient on power play. Jokerit were in the lead for quite some time, but the home team managed to tie the score to 3–3 on the last minute of regular time. In overtime both teams got a couple of chances and Philip Holm was the one to score the game-winning goal for Jokerit.
”We played an overall good game. We weren’t that efficient, but we played strongly on five against five. In the end the opponent put all. Maybe the referees have better cameras to see that it was a goal there. In the overtime we got ourselves well together and I guess we were that bit better today. I wasn’t happy with the referees. They had a long talk with the opponent after the first period with the opponent and after that we got only one power play after the challenge, but that’s how coaching sometimes is”, said Jokerit head coach Lauri Marjamäki after the game.
Jokerit got their first power play right on the first minute of the game. Jokerit players moved the puck smoothly in the offensive zone, but didn’t get that close to scoring during the two minutes on man-advantage. Alex Grant showed on good shot from the blue line.
After Jokerit power play also the home team got their game going, but it was a lot of work required in order to get to the net. Therefore neither of the teams were creating high quality scoring chances in the beginning of the game. As the first period went on, once again a long non-stop play came up. Such phenomenon has been quite common in Jokerit games. This time it was almost four minutes without a stoppage.
Kirill Pilipenko of Severstal got the opponent’s stick to his face, which caused the first power play of the home team. At the same time Jokerit forward Veli-Matti Savinainen left the ice for some treatment. Severstal power play didn’t showcase much, but instead Julius Junttila got to a breakaway and hit the post behind Vladislav Podyapolsky.
Severstal were given one more minor penalty in the first period and that Jokerit didn’t waste. Defenceman Holm opened scoring and gave the Helsinki team a good momentum for the last moments of the period, which as well included a power play for Jokerit and 2–0 goal, steered in by Nicklas Jensen.
Severstal started the second period with good spirit and they were allowed a man-advantage, when Jesse Joensuu was sent to the penalty box. The home team was able to capitalize on their power play as Daniil Vovchenko scored his 10th goal of the season making the big numbers 2–1 in favor of Jokerit. Still Severstal kept doing a good work and chasing the score.
A scary-looking situation was seen in the secon period as Jokerit forward Kalle Kossila crossed to the net, fell over and collided with goaltender Podyapolsky. Severstal goaltender turned out to be fine, but Kossila had to go to the locker room as his face was covered in blood. He returned to the game shortly afterwards.
”My teeth guards are good enough, thankfully, so that I didn’t break any teeth. It was a hard hit and I got a couple of stiches.”, Kossila said.
When it was a one-goal hockey game, it had a huge importance that which team would score the next goal. Jokerit didn’t make it on their power play and Severstal weren’t able to capitalize on their few chances. Janne Juvonen as well as Podyapolsky showed some real goaltending skills.
The period ended with some unfortunate news for Jokerit as Markus Hännikäinen seemed to injure his hand pretty badly.
The puck-control was taken by Jokerit in the start of the third period. Severstal created a tight trap in to the neutral zone and the Helsinki team had to dump and chase the puck in order to get the pressure near Podyapolsky’s net.
Jokerit held the control for th first minutes of the period, but a penalty for the visitors made the tables turn a little bit. Severstal created a few potential scoring opportunities, but Juvonen was able to get himself to the puck’s way each time.
After a while Jokerit got the game into the offensive zone. The forwards sawed Severstal defence into pieces and Brian O’Neill finished the play from the netfront. The referees of the game wanted to check from the video, if O’Neill interfered Podyapolsky’s goaltending, but that wasn’t the case and the review proved that the goal should stay.
Juvonen had to make a couple of saves in the last minutes of the game as Severstal tried to tighten the score. Once again, after a review Severstal pushed their second goal into the scoreboard. That boosted the home team to an incredible comeback and Pilipenko tied the game on the last seconds before the buzzer.
”They had a good drive. We weren’t sure, if their second one was a goal so we didn’t want to challenge and risk getting a penalty. Then we didn’t get the puck out of our zone and they managed to tie.”, Kossila thought.
Jokerit managed to win
Jokerit managed to capitalize on their power play in the first period as Severstal weren’t completely focused on the team effort. The home team improved their game throughout the game and tied the thriller just a few seconds before the end of the third period. Eventually Jokerit defenceman Holm scored the game-deciding goal just before the end of the time out.
”Holm was very efficient. The players awarded the birthday hero as the best player of the game just now in the locker room.”, mentioned Marjamäki about the Swede, who turned 30 years old on the gameday.
Jokerit will continue their season on Friday against Spartak in Moscow.
”Our aim has been to play more on power play than short-handed. As the season goes towards its end everybody plays tighter game, so the special teams are playing a big part. We’ll go game by game and not look too far into the future. We played well against Spartak the last time, so we’ll keep doing that.”, Kossila concluded.