One has to admit that betting on that pairing of the two dominators of Finnish Women Floorball would not have lead to the hugest return you can imagine. However, the regular season has been quite close and a couple of teams played a role on the road to Hartwall Areena – like PSS Porvoo, who evened the points of SB-Pro in the battle of place 2 and 3 behind Nina Rantala, who finished the regular season with overwhelming 3.89 points per match. Porvoo has been beaten on the medal road by young EräViikingit in the Place 3 match. Nevertheless, Classic had to be called favourite in Hartwall Areena on 21st April 2018.
The full picture gallery of this match can be found here.
Before the match, there has been a quite impressive pre-match show with artistics, rock music and sponsor’s action (Viking Line bear).
SB-Pro went for a solid defense first
In the first ten minutes, SB-Pro mainly concentrated on their defense, which worked out quite well – practically, no shot passed on to Tiltu Siltanen, who could fully rely on her defense. Around the first (of two) power breaks, SB-Pro became stronger and right before the match was stopped for the first time, Karoliina Kujala could just be blocked in front of Anna-Maria Linnoinen. Denisa Ratajova had a nice chance shortly thereafter. In the final minutes, Classic seemed to be a bit better in finding the gaps in the SB-Pro wall with Eliisa Alanko having the best chance on behalf of the Tampere girls some five minutes before the first intermission.
Alanko misses penalty shot – and scores twice
In the 25th minute, Classic had a really big chance to take the lead, but Ella Alanko failed to convert the penalty shot against Siltanen. During the power play, she just did it better and scored like a hockey blue-line sniper. In the 29th minute, Jenni Torkki just stepped back in the rink after an incorrect hit when Ella Alanko added her second goal on the scoreboard. SB-Pro looked a bit shocked from that, but it was 18-year old Torkki who brought her team back in the match: after a battle for the ball close to the rink, she was able to shoot from a free position in the 34th minute to close up – and two minutes later a very similar play brought the tie. Classic was clearly keen on at least holding that score until the second intermission – especially in the last two minutes of second period, the held the ball deep in their defense and played down the clock.
Ratajova’s Golden Goal
The third period had been a back and forth to both teams. Niina Rantala had a great-looking opportunity after a couple of minutes, but was very close to Siltanen so that she hardly had a chance to pass her. This match was to be decided by power play – and for their first time in that match, Classic was in personal disadvantage with Jenna Ruokostenpohja sent to the bench after a midfield tackle in the 57th minute. The golden goal was scored by SB-Pro’s first line, with Ratajova aiming perfectly just after a minute of power play. For most of the remaining time, Classic increased pressure on Siltanen by pulling Anna-Maria Linnoinen, but they could not force the match to get to overtime and also take away some pressure from the men’s team in the final against Happee.
SB-Pro had a huge party in Hartwall Areena, while Classic had to hope for the men’s final to at least bring one cup home to Tampere. SB-Pro will play the Champions Cup in Gävle in early 2019.
31 Anna-Maria Linnoinen – 35 Elsi Kangasharju – 44 Pauliina Hietanen // 5 Mari Alila – 6 Eliisa Alanko – 7 Emlia Lintilä – 8 Ella Alanko – 11 Sanni Nieminen – 12 Minna Kallio – 13 Jenna Ruokostenpohja – 16 Aino Viskari – 17 Kristiina Kauppila – 18 Julia Woivalin – 22 Hanna Sipiläinen – 30 Julia Jokela – 32 Jetta Uotila – 45 Clarissa Koivuniemi – 56 Salla Suomela – 66 Katri Luomaniemi – 67 Helmi Hirsimäki – 99 Ella Salonen
35 Tiltu Siltanen – 99 Ira Moilanen // 1 Jannika Kiiski – 6 Terhi Talvitie – 7 Emmi Lindh – 8 Jaana Lirkki – 10 Marianne Pohjonen – 12 Heidi Lirkki – 14 Jenni Torkki – 17 Tiia Ijäs – 18 Elina Kujala – 19 Karoliina Kujala – 20 Anu Raatevaara – 22 Laura Hietamäki – 24 Denisa Ratajova – 28 Minna Touvinen – 33 Mirja Hietamäki – 55 Heini Haapalahti – 66 Melina Rissanen – 69 Ina Leminen – 70 Juulianna Sotala – 77 Emma Itänen – 81 Hanna-Mari Uimonen