SaiPa wins opening weekend

SaiPa wins opening weekend

Markus Nisius12 Sep 2015Markus Nisius»

With a hockey lesson for the new kids on the block from Kouvola, SaiPa stormed to the top after the first pair of games for each team. HIFK and Kärpät could match the points, but not the goals.


Two periods were played, when everybody in Kouvola’s Lumon Areena knew the three points would leave the town. Just 45 seconds after the intermission was over Petteri Nokelainen scored his second goal of the evening to give SaiPa a 7-0 lead that was mostly established by 4 goals in the second frame. David McIntyre was the top scorer with three assists. Only afterwards KooKoo could get two goals on the scoresheet through Marlo Koponen and Anthony Guttig to end the game with 7-2 for SaiPa.

Maybe the Kouvola meltdown was not just a matter of class, but also a matter of adjustment to the tough Liiga schedule. Just one night before they looked pretty comfortable with the situation when they forced SaiPa into the shootout in Lappeenranta. They even were close to their first win, when they build up a 2-0 lead. 5 minutes into the game Mikko Lehtonen converted the very first powerplay in the league for KooKoo and 20 minutes later Petri Lammassaari was left all open on the left side by the SaiPa defense, so that he could easily find the open net.

Midway in the second period SaiPa only needed 20 seconds to even up the game as Sam Lofqvist and Kim Strömberg used a lack of zone clearing by KooKoo’s back end to their advantage. It could not change the momentum though. Jarkko Malinen stopped the clock one more time, just two seconds away from the second intermission, with his rebound goal on the powerplay to give Kouvola another lead.

David McIntyre returned the favour in the last period, cutting short Mika Koivisto’s stay in the penalty box to 6 seconds. In the end it was McIntyre again, who converted the decisive penalty in the shootout to keep 2 points in Lapppenranta.

5 points from two games set SaiPa in the lead, while they have to share the top with Kärpät and HIFK, who also got 5 points out of the first weekend. Kärpät battled down KalPa twice. While they needed Markus Nutivaara’s overtime winner yesterday to get out of Kuopio with a 2-1 victory, their young guns secured a 3-2 win in regulation today at home. Jesse Puljujärvi and Miro Aaltonen scored 5 minutes apart late in the second to advance to a 3-1 lead. Niko Mikkola could only add one more goal for KalPa.

HIFK defeated one of the big favourites today in the shootout. Juuso Puustinen managed to equalize Lukko leads twice to give Mika Partanen the chance to win it with his penalty. Yesterday HIFK had a hand in Espoo’s decline to the bottom of the league. Zaborsky and Ramstedt led Helsinki to a 6-1 win, each of them contributing with three points.

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