HPK – KalPa, 7.10.11

HPK 3 - 5 KalPa (1-2)(2-2)(0-1)
KalPa travel down to Hämeenlinna to face the league’s next to bottom team. They don’t take long to make their mark, scoring in the first attack of the game after just 25 seconds through Sakari Salminen. Most of the rest of the first period is taken up with the visitors skating circles around their hosts, sometimes quite literally. The Kerho goal survives through a combination of good goalkeeping, shoddy finishing and luck, until Marko Kauppinen finishes off some superb approach work by Tuomas Kiiskinen. Nil-two and it’s all one-way traffic. It’s difficult to describe how dire Kerho are playing at times, both at individual and at team level. There have been any number of completely missing the pucks, missed passes, getting in the way of team mates, and the whole team’s skating at half pace at times. By a minor miracle, Kerho clawed a goal back when Ari Ahonen left a chasm at the near post for Arsi Piispanen to slot the puck home.

Oh dear, 36 seconds into the second period and Salminen, in acres of space in front of goal, restores KalPa’s two goal advantage. A few minutes later and Kerho are getting even worse, believe it or not. They pay the price for failing to clear their own defensive zone, Joonas Riekkinen scoring KalPa’s fourth with a free shot from directly in front despite the close proximity of two defenders. Halfway through the period and the home side are fighting back thanks to KalPa penalties. Piispanen scores his second of the night with a backhand wraparound. Ahonen was desperately slow getting across his goal and was nowhere near covering the post when the puck went in. End of the second period and KalPa are rueing their inability to stay out of the penalty box. Repeatedly having the man advantage, Kerho finally put their game together, and in the fourth penalty of the period, all of which went against the visitors, Marko Tuulola narrowed the deficit to a single goal with just one second of the period remaining.

The end of an exciting and fluctuating game. The final period was pretty even, both sides playing well, creating chances but not able to convert them into goals. With some three minutes remaining, Jyri Junnila took a penalty for high-sticking. Kerho played the penalty six on four and put the KalPa goal under intense pressure searching for the equaliser. Ahonen made a couple of important saves during this spell, and KalPa remained hard pressed after Junnila returned. Eventually, the puck fell for Riekkinen who shoved it down the ice just to relieve the siege, and was probably as surprised as anyone when it trickled into the net at the far end for his second, and his team’s fifth, goal. On the balance of play over the hour, a deserved away victory.

Other games:
Ilves 0 - 6 HIFK
Ässät 0 - 1 TPS

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