The head coach of the Finnish men’s national ice hockey team, Jukka Jalonen, had a lot of reason to be happy at the EHT tournament in Sweden.
The performances of the Finnish men’s national ice hockey team in the EHT games in November in Tampere and in December in Zurich left much to be desired: two victories over Switzerland and twice defeats to both the Czech Republic and Sweden.
But the third EHT match of the season was from a different country: The Lions marched to the tournament victory with 4-2 victories over Switzerland and the Czech Republic and a particularly sweet 2-1 victory over the tournament host, Sweden, in front of the blue and yellow home crowd in Karlstad.
– Three wins in four days, and only five goals conceded. There were new players again, and they performed well in these roughs. You must be satisfied, head coach Jukka Jalonen told STT by phone.
– It was a tough fight against Sweden. They have a very good team, even the best they have played against. A great victory with a hard fight and good goalkeeping, Jalonen added.
Saved against Sweden, playing in Växjö Emil Larmi was in a great mood. Larmi stopped a total of 35 shots and some of them acrobatically. Especially in the final set, Tre Kronor grinded mercilessly in front of Larmi, but the Finnish keeper made 18 saves. Swedish civil servant Marcus Högberg survived the match with 11 saves.
– A little tumble drying was on, but we managed, Larmi mused about his work-filled evening in an interview with the TV5 channel.
“Marginals” against Tre Kronor
Finland scored the goals in the match Eemeli Finland and Pekka Jormakka. Jukurit forward Jormakka, 33, was called up to Sweden’s EHT team at the beginning of the week due to a few absences, and the matches were his first in Leijon since the spring 2018 World Cup.
– Now let’s go to work in Mikkeli, and we’ll go all the way there. And then we’ll see if we’ll see each other in Prague, the experienced Jormakka glimpsed prospects for the spring, both for the Jukurei and also for the World Cup tournament that starts in less than three months in the Czech Republic.
Sweden entered the match on a seven-game EHT winning streak, and Finland had a win in the last five meetings between the two countries. Now the head coach Sam Hallam was left to curse “marginals”.
– We exhausted Finland (with pressure), but the margins were against us, Hallam formulated for the Swedish public broadcasting company SVT.
The next stage at Jalose is a familiar one, i.e. player tracking towards the World Cup drug, and it is also familiarly done behind the scenes: the head coach and Leijonien’s GM Jere Lehtinen are heading on March 12 to observe the Finnish players of the NHL league.
– We have eight games there. And on April 7, the WC camps will start, Jalonen said.