About the League
On the last day of the 2019 Sirius Junior Club World Cup four best teams competed for medals. Austrian Red Bull and Finnish Kärpät disputed bronze first.
Salzburg lost 3-1 to Loko Yaroslavl in the semifinal, while ‘ermines’ surprisingly lost to Team AJHL. Now the teams had to face each other again. Oulu blew past Red Bull in round robin scoring eight goals and allowing just one.
Finland came out hard for this one looking to get another huge win and established a 2-goal lead just three minutes in. First Arttu Hyry shoved the puck into the net from in tight and in the very next shift Tukka Tieksola, who led the tournament in points, scored another one. Red Bull were fazed by this quick Kärpät’s start but to their credit they didn’t collapse and gave Severi Suutarinen some work to do as well.
However, ‘ermines’ were better at forechecking and passing plays. As a result of one forecheck Elias Hyvärinen stole the puck from a defenseman, broke away and beat Mauritz Merra 5-hole. Austria responded with a goal of their own right away. Kärpät defenseman lost focus after a face-off in Suutarinen’s end and Bastian Eckl put it home to make it 3-1.
Red Bull coaching staff decided to swap their goaltenders in the intermission – Christopher Kolarz replaced Merra. It didn’t take Kärpät long to score on him as well – another beautiful passing play by Oulu’s top-line led to Hyvärinen’s second of the afternoon. Tieksola picked assist on the play and got a minor penalty for high-sticking in the very next shift. Austria managed to capitalize on it – Pontus Englund found his target with a long shot just under the bar.
Midway through the period Red Bull scored on their own goal. Olli Vanttaja was going for a cross-ice pass but the puck hit defenseman Daniel Carlqvist and slid into the net. A little later Petteri Puhakka found his target further improving the lead for the ‘ermines’. The period ended with Vanttaja getting a minor penalty.
Finland went on to covert on David Rattensberger penalty – Zdenek Sedlak sniped it home from a bad angle, while Tieksola picked up yet another assist. A few minutes later Red Bull scored twice in a row. First Luca Nyman converted on a powerplay and just 15 seconds later Dennis Lobach beat Suutarinen with a screen-shot.
Kärpät didn’t let Salzburg get any closer than that. With this 7-4 win ‘ermines’ win bronze medal at the 2019 Sirius Junior Club World Cup.
“We allowed too many goals for the second time at the tournament,” said Red Bull forward Robert Arrak. “We didn’t come out ready, made mistakes and had to pay for them. It was difficult to focus after that. Our head-coach said that we played just one period in our past few games and it was a key factor time and again. I agree with his opinion. It’s just that Red Bull have a very young team and we’re still building chemistry.
“After the game coach said that losing three in a row should be a good motivation for us. Our whole team watched the round robin game between Team NAHL and Trinec. We believed till the end that we’d be the ones who would go to the semifinal. Because playing against such a mighty team as Loko is a great way to test yourself. When it was confirmed that we made the playoffs, nothing special happened. We just started getting ready for the game. I have international experience so I can say that the level of hockey at Junior Club World Cup is higher than in, say, IIHF Division II. Many World Cup teams boast players of the highest level. For example, Loko have players who were drafted by NHL teams and have KHL experience. Even the pace of the game is higher here and the teams are more competitive.
“I played in St. Petersburg for 4 years. Then accepted an offer from Jokerit and spent the next 6 years with the team. A year ago I decided to join Red Bull. Plenty of guys I played with still play in Russia. For example, Daniil Ogirchuk played in SKA [St. Petersburg] system last year. On Loko I know Maxim Berezhonov. Unfortunately, he didn’t come to the World Cup. I follow JHL and KHL closely.
“I came to Russia in 2017 for the World Cup as a member of Jokerit. Of course, it’s great to return to Russia and play at such a tournament. I can speak my own language and be around my people. There’s a huge difference between Red Bull and Jokerit. Austrian team plays in a men’s league so we’re getting ready to play at that level. Many guys on our team played in Sweden and Finland. We’re a very international team. I mostly talk to my teammates in English. I can speak Finnish to those who played in Finland. Aside from these languages I also speak German and Russian. Russian is my mother tongue.”
“It was a tournament of a very high level. We’re greatful to the fate that we won bronze here,” said Kärpät head-coach Ville Mäntymaa. “It’s frustrating that we lost just one game or actually just one period at the World Cup. We would like to play against Loko tonight but we’re happy with the bronze as well. Hopefully, we’re going to have a chance to return to the tournament next year. We need to win our national championship for that. It’s going to be extra motivation for us. I consider the World Cup a great way to get ready for the season.”
“I don’t think any of us was nervous before the game,” said Kärpät goaltender Severi Suutarinen. “We were just enjoying our last game at the tournament today. We tried to play for ourselves, skate faster and play as well as possible. Before the game our coach told us that it was going to be one of the two best games of the tournament so we didn’t need extra motivation. We allowed two goals after we had gone up 7-2. It’s difficult to say what happened. I think we thought too soon that Red Bull gave up. We thought that it was impossible to come back in that situation but we allowed too many consecutive goals. In the final minutes of the game we pinned the opponent to their defensive end and that’s why we were able to achieve the result.”
2019 Sirius Junior Club World Cup
August 31st. Sochi, Russia. Shayba Ice Arena
3rd place game
Kärpät (Finland) – Red Bull (Austria) – 7-4 (3-1, 3-1, 1-2)
1-0 – Hyry (Antti-Roiko, Hyvärinen) – 02-27
2-0 – Tieksola (Puhakka, Vanttaja) – 02-58
3-0 – Hyvärinen (Unassisted) – 16-51
3-1 – Eckl (Harnisch, Lindner) – 17-54
4-1 – Hyvärinen (Tieksola) – 23-09
4-2 – Englund (Predan, Varejcka) – 23-37 PPG
5-2 – Vanttaja (Järvitalo, Loponen) – 31-29
6-2 – Puhakka (Järvitalo) – 33-50
7-2 – Sedlak (Tieksola, Vanttaja) – 45-18 PPG
7-3 – Nyman (Englund, Harnisch) – 49-41 PPG
7-4 – Lobach (Unassisted) – 49-56
Goaltenders: Suutarinen – Merra, Kolarz