KalPa made an extraordinary decision – now it is bringing a giant sensation | Sport

KalPa made an extraordinary decision now it is bringing

KalPa is organizing the biggest surprise of the ice hockey spring in the ice hockey SM league.

KalPa leads champion favorite Ilves with match wins 3–1 and is just one victory away from the medal games. No one would have believed this, at least not in the fall.

– If this is not shocking, then a massive surprise is. When you look at the games and the result behind, this is not so surprising, Urheilu’s expert Top Nättinen says.

The Kuopio club has played very high-quality playoff hockey. It has defended closely, skated voraciously and played perfectly on the puck in accordance with its identity. However, a significant role is played, for example, by the understrength, as it has not allowed a single hit in special situations in the playoffs.

Nättinen reminds that Ilves has the winner of the points exchange in its top five Oula Palven and the top scorer for defenders Sami Niku. All of Ykkösylivoma’s forwards scored at least 20 goals in the regular season.

– One hundred percent Alivoima is an exceptionally great performance from KalPa, Nättinen enthuses.

Continuity as a value

KalPa’s story is unique in many ways. Last season ended with a narrow quarterfinal loss to the Pelicans in a tie game, when the team’s number one guard Juha Jatkola was injured.

After this, however, KalPa did not acquire any new attackers before the start of the season. They relied on their own players, of which there are no fewer than eight in the team.

Currently, there are only three new players in the lineup compared to last season’s team: the goalkeeper Stefanos Lekkas and have fulfilled their defense obligations well Aleksi Elorinne and Filip Westerlund.

– We often think that we need to get big names and confirmations, but this is a great example that continuity can also be a value and an asset, says Nättinen.

– In practice, this team was in a stalemate against the Pelicans and that should not be forgotten. Their base is really strong, which is not necessarily realized on the outside. Quite a few would like, for example Oliver Kapanen, Aapeli Räsänen and Jaakko Rissanen as centers for his team.

Stream’s legacy lives on

Although KalPa’s coaching has changed over the years, the club has maintained its game identity. Having coached in Kuopio for many seasons Pekka Virran after KalPa was Sami Kapanen under, after which began Tommi Miettinen era. For this season Petri Karjalainen jumped behind the bench.

Despite the changes, KalPa has kept its identity. KalPa dribbles spectacularly in the attack area and can create long rotations with his good corner play. In addition to the familiar and solid back on the puck, the defensive play has also been tight this season.

– Many people should take KalPa as a model. Although the success has not been incredible, for a small club it has been positively successful over the years.

– KalPa has always had a recognizable identity, a fresh and active offensive game where individuals stay on the puck. Pekka Virtra’s legacy has remained, even though it has changed a lot.

A patient team

Nättinen reminds us that hockey like KalPa requires repetition and a lot of patience. The players have indeed received repetitions, as many have been playing with the same principles for several years, some even throughout their junior career.

Patience has also been found in KalPa, and Karjalainen has also emphasized that during the season. After already winning the 1st round of the playoffs, the captain Tuomas Kiiskinen talked about the team’s patience.

The word patience has also been seen against Ilves. KalPa has led matches for a total of only nine minutes.

For example, KalPa has scored the game-winning goal three times in the last ten minutes in the spring matches, twice against Sport and once against Ilves. In addition, it has beaten Ilves twice in the extra round.

– The game has been steady and tight, but KalPa has been able to patiently trust their own actions.

– Patience doesn’t always go hand in hand with an active attacking team, which struggles to score goals here and there. However, patience has played a key role in KalPa’s story.

Palve shuddered with his comment

The mental side also plays a significant role in the spring matches. Ilves head coach Antti Pennanen talked during the season about how the pressure to succeed showed in his team’s play.

Ilves’ star striker Oula Palve brought his own spice to the soup, as he stated last week In an interview with Ilta-Sanomi that he only works at Ilves, but “in a good way”.

– I’ve played in so many places in the last few years that I can in a good way be detached from the pressure brought by the city or the fans. I’m such a traveler. And the journeyman usually just comes there, does the work and leaves, Palve said.

– I’m sure it’s a matter of heart for many in Ilves, and it’s an even better thing if there’s success. Of course, I’ll do everything I can to make sure we’re successful, but it’s not like that… Now, how would you put it so that there are no misunderstandings. The years as a traveler have hardened.

Nättinen fully understands what Palve means by ignoring the pressure, but one could not imagine that KalP’s Aapeli Räsänen would make similar comments.

– Those were quite interesting comments from a Finnish player. I could never imagine that Räsänen would make such comments about KalPa.

Sprung from KalPa

In this matter, KalPa also seems to differ from Ilves’ million-strong crew. The Kuopio club has not only its own graduates, but also several players who have emerged as top players with the help of KalPa. In addition to Räsänen, for example Jesper Mattila, Juuso Mäenpää and Kasper Simontaival.

– They have received an honest and genuine opportunity at KalPa, and for all of them KalPa will remain in their hearts and a part of their playing careers. That meaning and the shield logo are much bigger than going somewhere to play.

– If you compare to Palve, he came to Ilves for one season and maximized his own potential. What mark will he leave on the Ilves community other than power points? As a supporter, I would think about such comments, says Nättinen.

The series between KalPa and Ilves continues on Friday in Tampere. The chances of Ilves, who were at the bottom in the fourth match, are slimmer.

– I don’t see any more opportunities for Ilves, unless KalPa completely collapses or Ilves finds its own game identity in an unimaginable way. The series is still in progress and llves is a very high quality team, but have these four games made the wound too deep? I think so.