IFK Helsinki win big to secure playoff spot
Bouncing back from an overtime loss in Esbjerg on Friday, IFK Helsinki beat the same team 7-0 on home ice to advance to the Round of 32. Read more in Gamecentre.
In their first three CHL games, IFK Helsinki had yet to collect a win. If that losing streak had reached four games, there wouldn't be a fifth this year. However, they got off the schneid in a big way by blowing out Esbjerg Energy 7-0, getting revenge for an overtime loss to the same team on Friday.
IFK Helsinki had the edge in play early, but that was expected. The more shots Mathias Sldrup saved, however, the more confidence he would get and the more frustrated the IFK players would become. It took until 12:13 for them to break through, with Lennart Petrell making a great move to cut in front of the net and backhand. Seldrup got a pad on his backhand deke attempt, but the puck was just lying in the crease and Petrell was able to get his stick back on it and tap it in.
In the meeting between the two teams on Friday, IFK Helsinki took the lead three times and Esbjerg answered all three times. But this time Helsinki added a second goal less than three minutes later – Seldrup stopped Petrell's shot, but Tomi Tuomisto was there to put in the rebound. Juhamatti Aaltonen made it 3-0 in the last minute of the first period with a wrister from the right-wing boards, and there was little doubt about who would win the game by that time.
Petrell and Aaltonen each added their second goals of the game in the first seven minutes of the second period, and IFK Helsinki went into cruise control. The game ended 7-0. In addition to Petrell's 2+1 output, Micke Asten also had a three-point game – all assists. Nicklas Backstrom only had to make 11 saves for the shutout.
“This was a good performance from our team," Asten said. "We got our offence going and that was the base of our game today. We scored seven goals and we haven’t scored so many goals in the CHL so far. That’s really positive.”
"Certainly their talent showed today," Esbjerg coach Mark Pederson said about the strength of IFK Helsinki in this game. "We had a heck of a week, though, taking the bus down to Zug and earning a point down there, then another great game back home and a win on Friday. We were up against some tough opposition, but the guys played their best and it was a great experience. We're the youngest team in the whole tournament and Denmark hockey is growing, and I hope this experience helps it continue to grow."