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TPS & IFK all even after 1st game in Turku

Nothing is decided between TPS Turku and IFK Helsinki after the first leg.
© TPS Turku/CHL via Getty Images

TPS Turku and IFK Helsinki battled to a 1-1 tie in Turku, meaning everything will be decided in the Finnish capital next Tuesday. Read more in Gamecentre. 

by Steven Ellis

The final game of the Round of 32 will be extremely important for both TPS Turku and IFK Helsinki, who played to a 1-1 tie in Turku on Tuesday.

The first 10 minutes of the game saw furious action between two Finnish rivals with a lot on the line. Helsinki looked like the better team early on, and they were almost rewarded with a goal at the 7:26 mark. Panu Mieho was given a golden opportunity all alone in the crease, knocking the airborne puck down with his stick. It was close, but the puck managed to hit the post and deflect out of the crease, resulting in the game staying scoreless for the time being.

Helsinki, however, would still get the first laugh of the game with a wrist shot marker after just 8:21 of play. Micke Asten would skate around the net before finding defenseman Teemu Eronen cheating in on the play. Eronen was in a perfect spot to pick up the pass in the slot before using his accurate wrist shot to beat Oskari Setanen, giving Helsinki the 1-0 lead.

“I think we had a good start, the first period was totally about us,” said a pleased IFK head coach Antti Tormanen following the game. “The second period was even but sadly they scored there.”

TPS had to strengthen their defensive strategies in the second, and were able to keep IFK off the scoreboard in the second as a result. Helsinki did a tremendous job of getting into dangerous scoring lanes, but Turku did a splendid job themselves keep IFK from doing much in those situations. Turku, in fact, had more shots throughout the period, but many were from far away and weren't effective enough to give them any real chances.

That all changed with under two-minutes to go in the frame. TPS top scorer Patrik Virta added to his strong tournament performance by scoring on the rebound in the slot after the puck bounced off the end-boards from a Ilkka Heikkinen shot, tying the game at one heading into the third and final period.

With no overtime involved in the game, both teams were looking to get an extra goal to give themselves an advantage before heading into the second game. Unfortunately for both teams involved, scoring was not in their game plan for the final twenty minutes, instead playing a more conservative period to end off the game. Neither team managed to find the back of the net again, resulting in a 1-1 tie to finish off game one of the Round of 32.

“We tried to get the winning goal there (in the third period) but we couldn't capitalize on the power play,” added Tormanen.

The two teams will meet again to finish off the Round of 32 next Tuesday, a 18:00 local start at Hleingin Jaahalli in Helsinki. The team that concludes the two-game series with the most goals will move on to the Round of 16, to begin on 1 November.