Back to Nurmijärvi: on 6th October 2018, I headed to Finland to see my favourite women’s club team, SB-Pro, out there. The last time I saw them has been in the the April Superfinals winning the gold medal against Classic. Now, they were playing against the Tampere city rivals. Both teams lost quite important players for the new season: I was looking forward to see how Koovee would play without the Kauppi sisters. They played strong first matches in the season so far and surprised their opponents. On the other side, SB-Pro lost retired Elina Kujala, who was leading a team as a captain for the last years. The match was also my first coverage from the new Nurmijärvi arena, Arcadia Halli.
Before the match, retired captain Elina Kujala and her sister and current captain, Karoliina Kujala, revealed the banner for the 2017/18 season championship.
This posting includes a major size picture gallery.
SB-Pro vs. Koovee – Match Report
Koovee started agile and felt to be competitive in the very first minutes of the match. However, SB-Pro had a strong matchplan and tailored their game to the weaknesses of the guests. While Jenni Torkki’s 1-0 goal (3rd min) more or less took profit of a chaotic situation in front of Noora Laakso, Jenni Rautanen’s goal 90 seconds later was scored after a beautiful pass by Nea Suominen. The guests were lucky that Emma-Karoliina Itänen just hit the post in the 7th minute, but in the final minutes of the first period, SB-Pro could increase the lead. Mirja Hietamäki scored in the 16th minute followed by Karoliina Kujala just fourty seconds later, leading to a 4-0 period break score after twenty minutes.
In the second period, Koovee looked much better than just before the intermission, but SB-Pro was just overwhelming that afternoon. Mirja Hietamäki again took profit of a pass of her sister in the 22nd minute. The fast break goal by Emmiina Hapuoja in the 23rd minute which lead to the first Tampere goal felt like the first real good chance for ages. Silja Eskelinen (27th) and Kujala raised the score to 7-1, while Johanna Horni at least gave her team a slightly more pleasing intermediate score.
In the third period, Anette Knuutinen was assigned as Koovee’s netminder, but did not look more fortunate than Laakso. SB-Pro scored four more goals during that time, which especially completed Mirja Hietamäki’s hattrick. Ellinoora Huotari was able to pass Tiltu Siltanen for the third time in the match in the meantime, but finally, this period was simply a demonstration of SB-Pro strength. Koovee used the remaining matchtime to partially play without goalie, but just had very few chances to force a closer score than the final 11-3 result.
SB-Pro vs. Koovee – My View
The key difference to me in this match was coaching. The SB-Pro staff just found the right strategy and learned from Koovee’s strong start to Naisten Liiga. Thereby, they proofed their position as favourites in the league, in the rink and on the bench. In my point of view, Koovee should have reacted earlier, maybe even playing extremely defensively during the first period, to stay in the game. 4-0 after twenty minutes was just too high for a comeback. On the other hand, the guests showed some nice plays, especially in the second period, and should not worry too much about the high score of this one.
SB-Pro vs. Koovee – Line Ups
SB-Pro: 35 Tiltu Siltanen, 1 Jannika Kiiski – 5 Silja Eskelinen, 8 Jaana Lirkki, 12 Heidi Lirkki, 13 Meri-Helmi Höynälä, 14 Jenni Torkki, 19 Karoliina Kujala, 20 Anu Raatevaara, 22 Laura Hietamäki, 24 Niina Ahola, 25 Nita Heino, 26 Nea Suominen, 33 Mirja Hietamäki, 42 Jenni Rautanen, 70 Juuliana Sotala, 77 Emma-Karoliina Itänen, 83 Emmi Lindh
Koovee: 2 Noora Laakso, 7 Anette Knuutinen – 3 Elvira Tyrmi, 9 Henna Tapani, 11 Roosa Salmela, 13 Tereza Pitterlingova, 15 Ellinoora Houtari, 18 Johanna Homi, 19 Jemina Ruostila, 20 Mia Vallenius, 28 Julia Ruostila, 32 Camilla Granqvist, 36 Tuulia Aho, 37 Emmiina Hapuoja, 51 Diana Klavan, 91 Katrin Kivirand, 94 Lyylimaija Toivola
SB-Pro vs. Koovee – Gallery
There is a dedicated gallery in the Sports Picture section – you will find 691 snaps in better quality: