Overview to the Finnish league: Tappara's dominance has been record-breaking − tough discipline for dangerous hits

LIIGA / Artikkeli
Tappara's start of the season has been spectacular.
Kuva © Jarno Hietanen
The regular season in the Finnish league has started. The first rounds have shown the true colors of the teams and have also brought up some interesting individuals. Here's what has happened so far.

Last season ended with a surprise, when HPK from Hämeenlinna beat Kärpät from Oulu, who had been dominating the league until the finals. The reigning champion went through a lot of changes and they started their season with some difficulties. Out of their nine first games they have won only three.

The one team that has been the hottest topic of the start of the season is Tappara from Tampere. The blue and orange wearing team set a new record in winning streaks in the beginning of the regular season with their 8 consecutive victories. Since then they have won two more, and the streak is now at full a 10 games, with only one of the wins coming in overtime.

Tappara's Niko Ojamäki has scored the most points of all players so far.
Kuva © Arno Hämäläinen https://www.instagram.com/hockeygrapher/

Because of Tappara's dominance, the top of the scoring leaders chart is also taken over by their players, with seven of the top 10 from Tappara. Forward Niko Ojamäki leading the bunch with points 4 goals and 10 assists for 12 points in 10 games.

On the other hand the other team from the traditional ice hockey city of Tampere, team Ilves lost its first five games of their regular season, after being pretty much a dominant force in the pre-season. Ilves also fired head coach Karri Kivi and he was replaced by assistant coach Jouko Myrrä.

Some other big city teams, such as HIFK from Helsinki and TPS from Turku have started their season with turbulence. For example TPS might win a game with flying colors, but the next day they might end up losing after a horrific performance on the ice.

Karri Kivi got replaced by Jouko Myrrä (on the right) in the early regular season.
Kuva © Vesa Pöppönen www.facebook.com/VesaPhoto

When it comes to the players themselves, the Finnish league has to offer some internationally renowned individuals. Jesse Puljujärvi returned from the NHL to Kärpät − the place that made him a professional player in the first place. He has scored 3 goals and 5 assists in nine games played.

Some Finnish internationally known players like Jere Sallinen, Juhamatti Aaltonen, Lauri Korpikoski, Jussi Jokinen and Topi Jaakola have brought their significant abilities to their teams. 

There have always been talented foreign players in the Finnish league and so there are in this season too. Tappara's skilled forwards Tyler Morley and Charles Bertrand are both high in the scoring charts.

Jussi Jokinen is one of the best-known players in Finnish league.
Kuva © Arno Hämäläinen https://www.instagram.com/hockeygrapher/

A pair of brothers have been the talk of the town in Rauma and Pori, respectively. Finnish league rookies but already experienced players Pathrik and Ponthus Westerholm playing well for Lukko and Tyson and Tylor Spink for Ässät.

The league has come down hard for player infractions, with big suspensions handed out to several players. Jokinen received an eight game suspension after a hit to the head of an opponent.

The Finnish league is also a great place for young players to get some games under their belt in men's league. U20 players also have a separate scoring leaderboard they are competing for, and they're also trying to get more minutes in the teams' lineups.

Such young guns as Matias Maccelli, Lassi Thomson, Roni Hirvonen, Topi Niemelä and the Räty brothers Aatu and Aku have been successful in making some name for themselves.

The 17-year-old forward Roni Hirvonen has already scored is first Finnish league goal. He plays for Ässät.

There are 60 games in store for each Finnish league team in the regular season. Now they all are reaching for the 10 game milestone, so the first sixth is about to be done. In a month there will be an Euro Hockey Tour tournament in Helsinki, hosted by the national team of Finland. There always is a chance that some new players from the Finnish league making their international debut.

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