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Kärpät win hockey title in historic game 7

Oulun Kärpät won their sixth Finnish ice hockey championship on Saturday with a 1-0 overtime victory over Tampere's Tappara. The northern club did things the hard way in a bruising series that went to a seventh and deciding game for the first time in Finnish hockey history.

Juhamatti Aaltonen
Juhamatti Aaltonen scored the game-winning goal. Image: Tomi Hänninen

The historic game 7—the first time in the league’s history that the final series had gone to a deciding match—became necessary when Kärpät secured a last-gasp win in game 6 in Tampere on Friday. They won that match 3-2, forcing their hosts to travel the 490 km north for the decider on Saturday.

The game was played in front of a full house at Oulu Energia Areena in the Raksila district of the city, with fans queueing up to purchase tickets that went on sale at 9am on Saturday morning.

After such a deflating experience on Friday, some observers did not expect Tappara to put up much of a fight.

The match was tense for long periods, with Kärpät dominating but unable to find a way past Juha Metsola in the Tappara goal. At the end of the regulation three periods Metsola had 26 saves, frustrating the Kärpät team and the 6,000-odd fans that had come to celebrate a northern championship.

Juhamatti Aaltonen eventually broke the deadlock after 67:24 minutes, sending the Oulu fans into raptures as they hailed their team's first title since 2008.

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