Finland: the point in figures | Finland – Ice Hockey

The international break rhymes with time-outs for the various championships. For this first break, let’s take a look at Finland and its championships, men’s and women’s, with the forces present, some of which have tricolor flashes.

15: on October 28, after another defeat against Ilves, IFK Helsinki found themselves at the bottom, 15th in the standings, after 16 games. Never in Liiga history have HIFK been ranked last so late in the season. Between October 12 and 26, the usual favorite of the championship had also scored only 3 goals in 5 games, the worst performance in the history of the club. An incomprehensible situation in view of its ambitions, its budget of three million euros but also in view of the advanced statistics, the club of the capital playing bad luck, little rewarded despite the self-sacrifice produced. Since then, the HIFK has recovered by arriving at this first break in the season with four wins in a row, allowing it to be 12th in Liiga.

1: last Saturday, the leader Lukko suffered his first defeat in the 60 minutes, the fault of Tappara. In an excellent atmosphere at home, helped it is true by the four buses of Tappara supporters who made the trip, the Rauma club lost 1-2, the young striker Petteri Puhakka scoring a winning brace for the Tampere team .

43: Lukko is still the leader with 43 points, two points ahead of a stunning Lahti Pelicans side. Behind, the two Tampere clubs, Ilves and Tappara, are neck and neck with 37 points.

Anthony Rech (Photo Michel Bourdier)

2: Anthony Rech was not far from being elected best player of September since he finished second in the votes. It must be said that the striker of the France team began his first season in Finland, after five years in Germany, drum beating with 6 goals in 9 games. In total, Rech has 20 points (7+3) in 20 games, and so he quickly caught the eye of TPS Turku fans.

6: the number of shutouts made by the Russian goalkeeper of Lukko Artyom Zagidulin, total already amassed from October 12, that is to say after exactly one month of exercise! One of the two Russian players to play in Liiga this season (along with Nikita Krivokrasov of Jukurit) also leads the league in save percentage (93.6%)… even though he played 20 of the 21 games in his crew !

3: With each season that begins, this game of knowing which coach will jump first. But to tell the truth, no one expected the first ejection seat to be triggered after only three weeks… even less so from the leader of the championship, Ilves! Jouko Myrrä was effectively fired on October 5, replaced by Antti Pennanen. A decision motivated by the fact that the management of the Tampere club wanted to install a new coaching cycle and a long-term project (a change which could however have been made before the start of the season). The 53-year-old technician began his 14th consecutive season with the organization, having previously been junior coach and then assistant to the first team. The irony of history is that Myrrä, when he was fired, had just been voted coach of the month.

17: the number of minutes per match played by Hugo Gallet. The one who had particularly shown the example in the defense of the French team at the last world championship continues to hold a regular place within one of the best teams in the championship, KalPa being 5th in the standings.

17: the number of passes made by Jori Lehterä. The 34-year-old center once again shows that he is a fabulous playmaker. After 12 years of NHL and KHL, Lehterä returned to Tappara, where he had in 2009-10 scored 69 points in 57 matches, voted best player of this season.

ilves tampere logo38: Compared to a 2019-20 season before the Covid restrictions, Ilves has increased its match attendance by 38% since the start of the season, with an average of 7,780 spectators per match. The good results obviously combined with the recent and magnificent Nokia Arena, which recently hosted the world championships and the NHL clash between Columbus and Colorado, explain this spectacular rise and this fever for the “Lynxes”. Rival club Tappara (+23%) and TPS Turku (+24%) are not to be outdone, they helped to level up Liiga’s attendances, as 12 of the 15 teams lost spectators. Smaller clubs like KooKoo (-26%) and Jukurit (-20%) have particularly struggled to bring fans back to arenas after covid.

905: on November 1, Jukka Rautakorpi became Liiga’s manager with the most games to his name. The JYP coach overtook Pekka Virta, dismissed from his duties at SaiPa (we had mentioned his fate in the last anecdotes), the latter had already exceeded the 887 meetings of Hannu Aravirta. Rautakorpi, who started taking charge in the Finnish top flight in 1995, has managed, in addition to the Jyväskylä club, Tappara, Lukko and HPK. Rautakorpi is also the coach with the most league wins.

turkish jerry12: the number of points scored by Jerry Turkulainen, which allowed him to be voted best player of October. The JYP striker, who has 20 points in 20 games, played a big role in the good performance of the Jyväskylä club, which improved its performance after a sluggish start to the season. JYP has full confidence in his talented right winger, who recently extended his contract for another three years.

1: Only a small point separates Turkulainen from the leading scorer, Anrei Hakulinen, who therefore has 21 points on the clock. Elected best player of September, the captain of Lukko could therefore beat his personal best, which is at 41 points.

8: 8 goals in 4 games in the space of 11 days, that’s the incredible performance in October by Ville Meskanen from SaiPa… who hadn’t yet unlocked his counter until then! In the history of Liiga, only two players have managed to score 8 goals in 4 games during this millennium: Tony Salmelainen and Juuso Puustinen. In 1983, Jari Kapanen of HIFK achieved the feat of scoring 12 goals in 4 games.

15: another crazy series, but in the women’s elite this time, that of Julia Liikala, one of Finland’s most promising players. 3 games played against Ilves and RoKi twice, and each game 5 points including a hat-trick, Liikala did not do half measures with 15 points during these three games. At 21, Liikala is playing her seventh season in Naisten Liiga, the women’s elite, her second at HIFK, and she has exploded her personal best with already 42 points (16+26) in 15 games. She was voted best player of October.

Clara Rozier (2)
Clara Rozier (photo Nicolas Jacquet)

27: the number of points scored by the player of the France team Clara Rozier who is playing her third season with HIFK. Since the beginning of October, coach Saara Niemi has also repositioned the Haut Savoyarde in the front line alongside the phenomenon Liikala and the talented Michaela Pejzlová, forming one of the most formidable trios of Naisten Liiga. Along with the Czech Pejzlová, the Les Bleues striker is also the other foreign player in a top 10 of the best scorers monopolized by the Finns. Clara Rozier also scored her 14th goal of the season this weekend against TPS Turku, where another French player, Raphaëlle Grenier, plays.

2: two teams stand out completely in Naisten Liiga: KalPa (1st) and HIFK (2nd) have absolutely no competition. These two teams have a ten-point lead in the standings over their first pursuer, and since the start of the season they have scored an average of 6 goals per game. The top twelve scorers play in either of these two teams, with Pejzlová leading the scoring, followed by Elisa Holopainen, Julia Liikala and Emilia Vesa.

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Athena Locatelli (photo Nicolas Jacquet)

2: with 20 points (5+15), Athéna Locatelli is the second most productive defender in the championship. Recently retired from the France team since the World Cup in Angers, Clara Rozier’s teammate at HIFK is therefore not weakening. It is also his accomplice in defensive doublet, Siiri Yrjölä, another promising talent from Finland who is the best scorer among the defenders of Naisten Liiga… at only 18 years old! With a big ice sister like Locatelli, Yrjölä is at a good school. The specialized media Jatkoaika ranked Locatelli, always calm in her zone, third best defender in the league after her first twenty games this season.

2: Unfortunately, French goalkeeper Margaux Mameri was only able to play two games for HPK: a 4-3 win against RoKi and a 3-5 loss against TPS Turku. The experience did not last longer, Mameri returning to the Évry-Viry club that she had previously worked with. It must be said that the angle had become too small at Hämeenlinna for this 25-year-old goalkeeper preparing to succeed Caroline Baldin as holder of the Bleues: Salla Sivula played most of the matches, until Noora Räty , the best Finnish goalkeeper in history, decides to come back to town.

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3: With 2 goals and 10 assists, Robin Colomban is the third best scorer of TuTo, the Turku team which plays in Mestis, the second level for men. The 24-year-old Frenchman had attempted a first Finnish adventure in 2020 in Rovaniemi in the far north of the country (see interview with Damien Kuster) before returning to his stronghold of Briançon (see review of his experience). But the captain of the Red Devils, eager to expatriate but also to obtain a regular place in the France team, did not want to stop there. Recruited by TuTo, Colomban quickly became the team’s No. 1 center, a position which, moreover, is lacking in succession among the Blues. Colomban was on the list of replacements for the French team’s first training camp in Hungary.

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