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The game was the first one for the Helsinki team in the year 2022 and Jokerit played in the home ice – without audience though, since the covid restrictions had emptied the stands in the turn of the year. These conditions shall last for at least couple of weeks.

For Wednesday’s game Jokerit got Brian O’Neill back in the line-up and also defenceman Otto Leskinen came to play after a while. On the other hand, Nicklas Jensen was absent. Dynamo got their best forces on the ice, lead by Vadim Shipachyov, who had been phenomenal in the KHL in the first half of the regular season.

”Brian practiced with high quality after his sick leave. He is a big player for us and we managed to win in Moscow without him. Today Jensen was out then.”, Jokerit head coach Lauri Marjamäki thought about the changes in the line-up.

Dynamo were a tough opponent for Jokerit in the first match-up of the season and also the longer history shows that the Moscow team hadn’t been easy task to the home team of tonight’s game.

On the ice Dynamo did a lot of hard work and tried hard to get the puck into Jokerit net. However, the home team was efficient enough in their scoring and left the ice with a clear 5–1 win.

”We had practiced well since Sunday and today the first period was good by us. In the second period we took a couple of penalties and lost face-offs 3–13, which made us defend a lot and we couldn’t create that much our own offensive game. Then again the third period was good and the whole team performed well. The were many good things to take to Saturday’s game.”, head coach Marjamäki mentioned.

Jokerit had a good first period for the year

Jokerit came in to the new year and its first game well as Jordan Schroeder scored the leading goal from the netfront. Defenceman Niklas Friman gave a smooth pass to the American, who showed his technical skills, when putting the puck in.

Jokerit managed to survive the first penalty kill and right after the teams were back to full streght did O’Neill get an open net to score, but didn’t capitalize on Dynamo goaltender Ivan Bocharov’s moment of weakness.

The second goal for the home team was a big time lucky bounce. After a shot sent from a blue line O’Neill steered the puck at the net and for Dynamo’s unfortune, Eric O’Dell happened to be on the way and the puck went in by his equipment.

The visitors got their game better in control in the ending part of the period, but Anders Lindbäck still didn’t have to make that many saves in order to keep Jokerit in two-goal lead going into the first intermission.

”We defended well, even though the opponent kept the puck seemingly much to themselves. They still couldn’t get many chances. I got to take my hat off to Lindbäck, who was excellent at the net tonight.”, forward Markus Hännikäinen said after the game.

Dynamo put the heat on, but Jokerit scored sweetly

Dynamo finished the first period with strong physical play and they kept on going the same path in the start of the second period. The visitors forechecked hard and forced Jokerit to just get rid of the puck as fast as possible. Iiro Pakarinen was an unlucky one as he blocked a huge shot, but shortly after he got a minor penalty for delaying the game. Jesse Joensuu was sent to serve his mildly injured team mate’s penalty.

The Swedishman Lindbäck at Jokerit net had to perform a few big saves to keep the Helsinki team in the lead as Dynamo pushed hard towards his work post. Jokerit were forced to try to create counter-attacks as the control of the visitors was so tough to break.

”They have a physical, big and strong team. By defending the center ice and taking off the breaking passes we were able to cut their chances off and prevent them from having counter-attacks.”, Hännikäinen noted.

After Jokerit had battled through some tough times, they got their own opportunities to have some offensive play. Philip Holm’s minor penalty did cut the better phase for the home team and once again gave Dynamo a chance to get on the scoreboard. On the contrary, Marko Anttila and Markus Hännikäinen got to a counter-attack. The captain gave the puck to his fellow forward, who sweeped it back to the captain, who capitalized and Bocharov couldn’t do anything to prevent the goal from happening.

Dynamo managed to also score in the second period. O’Dell crossed to the offensive zone and passed to Oscar Lindberg, who shot the puck with a onetimer behind Lindbäck.

Jokerit kept on going

Jokerit got a power play in the first minutes of the third period and they got some nice pressure towards Dynamo net. Still the home team couldn’t get their lead up to three goals again. After the special forces it took quite some time before the visitors were able to start their comeback.

Once Dynamo got their pressure going, it was difficult for Jokerit to create their own offensive game apart from a few counter-attacks that the home team got. On such situation Jokerit also scored their fourth goal, when Hännikäinen capitalized on a neat pass given by Schroeder.

After getting the three-goal lead back Jokerit could calm down a little bit and control the puck and determine the pace of the game accoridng their own likings.

The clock ran down as Dynamo tried to do everything in their power to make the numbers even a bit more likable from their point of view. Rob Klinkhammer’s minor penalty decided the fact that Dynamo were about to leave Finland without any points in their backpockets.

”We have to be satisfied with this 5–1 victory. It was important to win this match against a top team. Winning two high-quality teams in a row gives us faith to the next games.”, Hännikäinen said.

2022 started well for Jokerit

Hannes Björninen was the last goal-scorer of the game in which Dynamo worked hard, but couldn’t capitalize in the net behind Lindbäck. Jokerit utilized their chances and got a good start to the year 2022.

Next the Helsinki team will face Salavat Yulaev on Saturday. In that game Jokerit will have to deal with talented Finnish players.

”We will take some rest tomorrow and then we will keep on practicing. On Saturday it’s another top team game, this time from the eastern conference. They are a tough opponent and it’s going to be a tough match-up. Based on the game we had in Ufa they have a skilled team with big guys like Teemu Hartikainen. We have been able to stay on the puck in the offensive zone, so we need to focus on defending the center ice and not give them chances to strike back.”, Hännikäinen concluded.

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