Linkoping & IFK head to Helsinki tied 1-1
Linkoping HC hosted IFK Helsinki in the first leg and each team scored once, meaning whoever wins next week in the Finnish capital will advance to the Quarter-Finals. Read more in Gamecentre.
by Steven Ellis
The final game of the day on Tuesday saw Linkoping HC and IFK Helsinki meet at the Saab Arena in Linkoping, with neither team taking the advantage in a 1-1 draw in Champions Hockey League Round of 16 play.
It took almost no time for Linkoping to take the 1-0 lead over IFK. At the 2:28 mark of the game, Vilmos Gallo screened former NHL All-Star Niklas Backstrom in front, but that wasn’t the extent of his contribution. Niclas Lundgren would take the shot on net, only to have Gallo tip the puck off his pants and in for the 1-0 goal, a lead that would hold on for the remainder of the first frame.
Despite allowing a goal early, Backstrom proved to be one of the better players in the contest. After 40 minutes of play, which included a scoreless second period, Backstrom was forced to make 20 saves, including a few rebounds on quick chances midway through the contest.
The best chance of the second period, however, came thanks to a breakaway chance by Roope Hintz. Hintz, a second-round draft pick by the Dallas Stars in 2015, broke in all alone on Marcus Hogberg, but Hogberg was quicker than his opponent and made the save to keep the game tied heading into the third period.
IFK played in a very tight, challenging series against TPS Turku in the Round of 32, a series that saw an overtime winner seal the deal with a 5-4 decision. That type of hockey continued on Tuesday, with IFK tying the game up at one apiece at the 46:55 mark of the game. Corey Elkins would make a great back pass on a wide-open ice surface, only to have Robert Leino crush the slap-shot one-timer past Hogberg and in for the 1-1 goal.
The goal resulted in some extra momentum for IFK, but neither team would score in the final minutes of play. Thus, Helsinki and Linkoping will meet next Tuesday in the final game of the Round of 16, with the highest scoring team in the contest moving on to the next round.
“My hope is to rest well and in one week be a little bit better,” said IFK coach Antti Tormanen following the game. “We have to work on the power play but I’m happy overall.”