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Oulu stay alive in hockey finals

A win for Kärpät in Tampere has sent the Finnish men’s ice hockey championship finals into an unprecedented seventh game. The match was tied 2-2 in the third period before Kärpät pulled ahead again, making it 3-2 at the buzzer. Game 7 begins at 5pm in Oulu.

Juhamatti Aaltonen
Juhamatti Aaltonen was first on the scoreboard Friday. Image: Tomi Hänninen

Tappara of Tampere hoped to win its second Finnish men’s ice hockey championship on home ice Friday evening. They faced off at Hakametsä Ice Stadium against Kärpät of Oulu. The northern team managed to scrape out a 2-1 victory on Wednesday in Oulu, as Tampere made its weakest showing of the tournament. Tappara has a 3-2 lead in the best-of-seven series.

”Tappara have a chance to win the championship in their ‘home cave’, which is the best thing you can achieve in the SM-liiga. That creates a certain amount of pressure,” observes Yle sports expert Kimmo Kuhta.

First-ever 7th game

With Kärpät managing to pull out another win, the shoe – or skate – is now on the other foot as the seventh and final game will be played in Oulu. This is the first time ever for the SM-liiga finals to go to a full seven games.

Juhamatti Aaltonen of Kärpät started the action with the first goal, just four minutes and 37 seconds into the game. He was followed 14 minutes later by teammate Atte Ohtamaa, making it 2-0 for the visitors at the end of the first period. The situation remained unchanged at the end of the second period.

In the 46th minute, Kristian Kuusela finally gave the hosts some hope with Tappara's first goal, followed less than four minutes later by Jukka Voutilainen's equaliser.

Then in the 52nd minute Oulu's Czech player Ivan Huml put Kärpät back in the lead, 3-2  -- a score that takes the series back to Oulu. Game 7 begins at 5pm.

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