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Tappara Tampere – Munich (CHL, semi-final) | Europe and World – Ice Hockey

The CHL semi-final between Tampere and Munich finally takes place after the two postponements due to the health situation, due to positive cases of Covid-19 within the German team, then within the Finnish team. The Munich club has totaled six participations in the CHL and does not hesitate to aim for the final victory. Don Jackson’s band has acquired some experience with a final, high point, during the last exercise. The qualification for the final will be decided, on the other hand, on this only match. In short, there is therefore no room for error for the two teams.

Don Jackson has to do without six important players: Danny Aus den Birken, Konrad Abeltshauser, Yasin Ehliz, Patrick Hager and Frederik Tiffels who are preparing for the Olympics with the German national team in Mannheim. Ben Street, meanwhile, will represent his home country of Canada in Beijing.

Young striker Justin Schütz is looking forward to this game: “It was a great feeling to take the guys to the semi-finals. Now, of course, we want to reach the final, although it’s going to be incredibly difficult. »

The leaders have strengthened the team with defender Andrew O’Brien. Before moving to Munich, the Canadian met Tappara twice with his former club Jyväskylä in the Finnish league, even scoring a goal. ” I only recently played against them. And I can say that it’s a really strong team. » In addition, the club has secured the nets, in an area that has recently seemed sensitive. It is the Norwegian international Henrik Haukeland who will keep the cage.

For his part, Tappara has played seven times in the premier category of European competitions but has never been able to reach the quarter-finals. The attacking danger can come from all lines, but the club still counts on the former Kristian Kuusela. It turns out to be decisive and extremely important in the game of the Finns. The 38-year-old striker is yet to score in the current competition but has already provided the assist on eleven of his teammates’ goals. The team is in great form with a streak of 10 wins and only one defeat in the league.

The game begins in the brand new Nokia Arena, a marvel that can hold 13,455 seats, but which rings hollow for the occasion since access is prohibited to the public. The Tappara poses the subject seriously and prints a very fast rhythm. Tyler Morley infiltrates the offensive zone, passes two players and sends a deflected puck from the shield by Haukeland (3’00). A high stick from the Munich joker O’Brien gives the Finns the opportunity to turn around the cage. The danger arrives with a first shot from Rantakari, deflected, which rolls just in front of the post. But, on the following action, it is the former, Kuusela, well offbeat, who converts the try with a “one timer” recovery, his first goal in this CHL (4’18: 1-0).

Red Bull Munich suffered intense play from the Tappara players. The embrace is very firm and prevents visitors from approaching the Finnish cage. Charles Bertrand sends a heavy throw on Haukeland (6’50). Even if the Germans react by imposing a moment of pressure on the cages of Tappara, the Finnish defense locks the area and manages to get the puck out, quickly, and in good conditions. Only Gogulla inherits a rare rebound from goalkeeper Heljanko, but this opportunity cannot be exploited (15’56). The end of the period was marred by a few penalties but Munich were unable to put up a power play. Only good note in this end of third for the Germans, they resist well in inferiority to the image of Austin Ortega very present to scratch pucks. Otherwise, there is no photo in these first twenty minutes, the Finns are well above their opponent.

The game resumes on the same basis. It is the Tappara who has control of the game and the puck. One can only be impressed by the intensity and dexterity of the “oranges” who repeatedly win conquest duels. On the defensive side, the area is locked, the puck is won back and the players are quickly projecting forward like Kyle Platzer (25’40). The two whistled penalties against Tappara come at the right time to get back into the game. This time the Munich Canadians find space to shoot with Ben Smith and Austin Ortega. But the Finnish goalkeeper does not flinch, he is in place and quick in his actions. He stops a powerful shot from Zach Redmond’s blue (29’15).

It is still Haukeland which remains very much in demand. Vittasmäki, well offset, sends a shot without the goalkeeper being masked (29’30). Moreover, it is still on a quick projection of the Finnish squad that Tyler Morley comes to test Haukeland with a dangerous backhand in the middle of the race (38’06). At the very end of the period, Redmond inherited the puck, on the empty cage side, but his recovery was off target and went over the goal (38’30). Munich was able to find some space, the penalties gave the opportunity to send the puck to the cage. But it must be recognized that the Finns did not tremble. Haukeland allows his team to stay in the game. Everything is still possible.

But once again, at the start of the third period, the locals imposed a hellish pace and multiplied the dangers on the Haukeland cage. Inspired, Moilanen creates danger, just in front of the Norwegian goalkeeper. The Finnish reserves seem inexhaustible, the speed goes up another notch, the control of the puck is hallucinating and Munich finds itself without any ammunition. Don Jackson players resist, hold on and let the storm pass. At the end of this complicated sequence, the Germans manage to get back into the game. They push hard in the offensive zone in front of goalkeeper Heljianko. The latter even made the saves on shots by Jonathon Blum and Andrew O’Brien in a pool game in front of the cage where even Kastner pushed the puck on the doorman but without success (46’25).

Tuulola is penalized for obstruction and it’s time for the Germans to come back. But not only, no notable opportunity is to be reported, but on the return to five, Luoto captures the puck, at the limit of offside, and leaves, alone, to challenge Haukeland, whom he beats with a powerful shot ( 51’47: 2-0). To make matters worse, Max Kastner was sent on penalty and Kuusela crucified the Germans with a goal almost identical to the first in “one timer” (53’29: 3-0). Subsequently the Finns do not let go of the embrace in the offensive zone. On a last whistled penalty against Luoto, Don Jackson takes his time out and takes out the goalkeeper at 57’10. But even at 6 against 4, nothing changes and it is even the untenable Kuusela who misses the empty cage at the very end of the match (59’50).

The disappointment is huge for Don Jackson’s team but the reality of the Finnish level has spoken. Of course, important forces were missing in Munich, but the level offered by the Tappara players is still striking and much higher than what Munich can offer in DEL. Defensively, the Germans resisted well but it was very complicated to enter the zone without suffering the disturbances of the Finnish pressing and finally manage to propose a danger to the goalkeeper Heljianko.

Christian Heljanko made 25 saves and a shutout, his second in the CHL this season and the fourth of his career in the competition.

Even if the objective of the final victory is not achieved, the leaders of Red Bull will always be able to see that their team is the only one in Germany to try its luck to obtain a final against the unbeatable Scandinavian clubs.

Tappara Tampere will face unexpected Swedish club Rögle Ängelholm, who reached the league final last season, in the final. This result is simply the pinnacle of the entire history of this club.

Post-match comments

Yannic Seidenberg (Munich defender): “We wanted to bring the trophy to Munich this year. It’s disappointing to have failed so close to the final. We have tried everything. But we clearly noticed that there were a few guys missing. »

Don Jackson (Munich coach): “I congratulate Tappara Tampere. It was a great duel and I am proud of my team. We had enough quality in our team to win the match. It was a big showdown. We can be very proud of what we have achieved and how far we have come in the Champions League. Despite all the disappointments, pride ultimately wins out. »

Tappara Tampere 3-0 Red Bull Munich (1-0, 0-0, 2-0)
Tuesday, February 1, 2022 at 6:00 p.m. at Nokia Arena. Behind closed doors.
Referees: Mark Lemelin (USA) and Daniel Stricker (SUI) assisted by Tommy Niitylä (FIN) and Hannu Sormunen (FIN).
Penalties: Tampere 10′ (2′, 4′, 4′); Munich 8′ (4′, 0′, 4′).
Shots: Tampere 34; Munich 25.

Score evolution:
1-0 at 4’13: Kuusela assisted by Levtchi and Rantakari
2-0 at 51’47: Luoto assisted by Rantakari and Tanus
3-0 at 53’29: Kuusela assisted by Rantakari and Levtchi (num. sup.)

Tappara Tampere

Waltteri Merelä – Tyler Morley (2′) – Anton Levtchi (+2)
Joona Luoto (+1, 2′) – Kyle Platzer (+1) – Kristian Tanus (+1)
Charles Bertrand – Patrik Virta – Kristian Kuusela (+2)
Sami Moilanen – Otto Rauhala – Petteri Puhakka

Veli-Matti Vittasmäki (+1) – Jooni Tuulola (2′)
Casimir Jürgens – Santtu Kinnunen
Brady Austin – Mikael Seppälä (2′)
Otso Rantakari (+1, 2′)

Guardian :
Christian Heljanko

Replacements: Kari Piiroinen (G), Tomas Hamara.

Red Bull Munich

Philip Gogulla (-1) – Ben Smith (-1) – Austin Ortega (-1)
Justin Schütz – Max Kastner (2′) – Trevor Parkes (2’+2′)
Bastian Eckl – Filip Varejcka – Frank Mauer
Elias Lindner, Sebastian Cimmerman

Yannic Seidenberg – Zach Redmond
Maksymilian Szuber – Daryl Boyle
Andrew O’Brien (-1, 2′) – Jonathon Blum (-1)

Guardian :
Henrik Haukeland

Substitute: Daniel Fiessinger (G). Absent: Danny Aus den Birken, Konrad Abeltshauser, Yasin Ehliz, Patrick Hager, Fredrik Tiffels (Germany team), Ben Street (Canada team), Andrew McWilliam (foot), Maximilian Daubner (return to play protocol).

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