Ilves has pulled the rug out from under him – the expert reveals the champion’s favorite kompuru and KalPa’s surprise twist | Sport

Ilves has pulled the rug out from under him

Ilves, which started the season with the biggest investments and championship expectations, has sunk into a small hole in the opening of the quarterfinals of the Norwegian Hockey League. KalPa surprisingly leads the series with a 2–0 win before Monday night’s third game, which will be played in Tampere.

Statistically, Ilves has to stretch to a small feat to turn the series around. In the past ten years, there have been a total of 32 times in the SC league playoffs where the other team leads the series with a 2–0 victory. Only one of these times has the underdog team advanced to the next round. In the 2017 finals, Tappara turned a 0–2 home advantage against KalPa into a 4–2 victory celebration.

Urheilu’s ice hockey expert Top Nättinen you can see that there is a massive difference in the setups, when one of the quarter-final teams comes from the 1st playoff round (KalPa) and the other is the second runner-up in the regular season (Ilves).

– As a starting point, the situation is that when the wins are 1-1, it would still be tolerable for the favorite, but when they are now 0-2, it is already a shock result for Ilves, who has to dig for four wins out of the five possible games ahead. Savotta is tough, reflects Nättinen.

The top players of Ilves have so far underperformed, and missing a goal in Niirala does not at least raise the group’s self-confidence. KalPa has bored the best superiority team of the regular season and reset all nine superiority seams of Ilves in the most important moments of the season.

– KalPa’s 2–0 lead is a confusing result. However, Ilves has a points exchange (Oula Palve) and the number one points of the decks (Sami Niku) and a total of six players who have scored more than 19 goals in the regular season, Nättinen lists.

The melting of two goals brought ballast to Ilves

Ilves collapsed in the first quarter after leading 3–1 against KalPa in Tampere, with less than nine minutes left in the actual game. From then on, the momentum shifted to the challenger, who received a huge boost from his rise to power.

– In that game, I think KalPa was already a little on the verge of crouching in the second period, but still it maintained a two-goal deficit against Ilves. And the beginning of KalPa’s third period was not good at all. It is humane that Ilves was lulled into it. Ilves should have already nailed the match in the second set with their superior strength, emphasizes the analyst of the Jääkekikokierros.

Nättinen doesn’t want to say that the whole series turned to the event described above, but he can see that the spirit that KalPa got from it was significant.

– When such a massive surprise is transferred to the KalPa camp, they figuratively grow inches, while at the same time the opposing side’s mindset inevitably goes into losing it and the shock is bigger.

In Nättinen’s opinion, on a mental level, it is a completely different matter if, in the regular season meeting between Nelonen and Vitone, one of them leads with a 2-0 win in the playoffs, when compared to the fact that the club from the “pitiful players” leads from second place in the regular season with the same numbers.

– KalPa was already able to beat Ilves away and at home and also to zero the opponent. When the whole KalPa playoffs sky is breaking down, they have received a lot of positive signals.

– The strength and feeling in KalPa’s booth versus the disappointment of Ilves, it’s even bigger on the mental side than just a 2-0 lead in the series. This is the beauty and horror of sports at the same time, describes Nättinen.

Ilves has a real mental test ahead of him. The team’s mental state has previously been compared to the gigantic pressure and expectations of the NHL club Toronto Maple Leafs.

– Psychological issues are existing facts. When the series is 0-2, it must not be allowed to 0-3. However, Ilves only has one player who won the championship at the adult main league level (defender Niklas Friman). Where does the team find that understanding in a tight spot?

KalPa’s mental state is skyrocketing

– Since the Sport series, KalPa has had confidence and a feeling for the game, the top individuals have been successful and Stefanos Lekka saved much better with the goal, which I at least expected, admits Nättinen.

KalPa’s head coach Petri Karjalainen has conjured up a relaxed, tenacious and combative game look for its crosswalks. And the team has nothing to lose. Now we will see the best of KalPa, which we occasionally got to watch in the regular season as well. Their problem used to be volatility.

– Now we have seen KalPa, who is confident in the attacking game, playing actively and courageously. However, when defense is not their strength, they use the old truth that “attack is the best defense”. This has been a challenge for Ilves, says the expert.

The people from Kuopio have found a diamond-like mental patience in the playoffs, which has lifted the team to victories at the end of the matches since the first Sport game – despite even numbers.

– They have the necessary faith and self-confidence that even games will turn around.

Oliver Kapanen has scored three winning goals in four playoff matches and he currently leads the points market with 4+3=7. Kapanen did not even fit into the top 50 in the regular season and scored only one winning goal in the 51 regular season games he played.

– He is a young, only 20-year-old player, far from the experienced horse that usually emerges in the spring. This is an incredible performance, although of course he has 49 power points next to him Juuso Mäenpää and 46 surfaces Matyas Kantner. This trio has supported KalPa and found its chemistry at the right time, Nättinen marvels.

Stress at the ball club, not so much at KalPa

The load of the playoffs is a burden for the teams in the 1st playoffs and at some point a big problem. Statistically, in the history of the SM League, no club has ever risen from “pity” to the championship.

However, the program has been significantly more favorable for KalPa than, for example, for TPS. In the Sport series, Savo had one break (unlike TPS) and in addition, Kuopio got three battery charging days (against TPS’s one), when KalPa ended the Sport series in two games.

– The light-footed KalPa was able to prepare for the Ilves games in peace, and its feel for the tough matches was still excellent. KalPa played five matches in 12 days, while TPS had to play six matches in nine days. These teams have a completely different story. TPS is under strain, KalPa’s match schedule is perfect, the expert compares.

KalP’s Alivoima has solved the 13 understrengths caused by the four playoff games so far without any setbacks. Its crown is another underpowered hit.

– We always talk about special situations, which in the vernacular always turns into superiority. One can talk about Ilves’ bad superiority, but with such a record, the discussion should be turned to the fact that KalPa has played a really good understrength. However, there has also been one viton in the away bowl.

Nättinen points out that KalPa’s Alivoima has performed at an astounding level, when you consider that Ilves practically has players in two superiority fields that every SM league team would want in its own special situation.

– Winning things include a good understrength, then the team – in this case KalPa – is always difficult to beat.

KalPan Jaakko Rissanen will not play on Monday as he received a one match ban for the incident below.