Liiga Report: Upstart KalPa challenging Tappara powerhouse

by niko on April 21, 2017
  • Feature Story
  • Liiga Report: Upstart KalPa challenging Tappara powerhouse

 

The final playoff series is under way in the Liiga. And oh boy, was the first game ever an entertaining one.

KalPa ground out the win 3-2 after 90 minutes of pure thriller.

Maybe the biggest surprise of the season is that KalPa made it all the way up to the finals. It is now facing the Liiga’s powerhouse and the defending champion, Tappara. Since the 2000 – 2001 season, Tappara has two gold, five silver, one bronze medals and has finished twice with the most points in the regular season.

This team has brought up players like Aleksander Barkov and Patrik Laine in the past few years, from its system. Former NHL player Sami Kapanen, the father of Leafs’ playoff hero Kasperi Kapanen, is making his impact as an assistant coach this season. Kapanen’s team will have its hand full with Tappara and it will be an interesting series for sure.

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Seen here in last year's U-18 international tournament, Kristian Vesalainen is leading this year's event in scoring:

 

Team Finland made it to the semi-finals in the U-18 tournament. It powered through Group A with a clean record. Kristian Vesalainen is having a monster tournament. He scored a hat trick against Canada. In four games, Vesalainen has six goals and five assists, which is good enough for the scoring lead in the tournament.  There’s no doubt that this tournament has done wonders for his draft stocks.

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Miro Heiskanen has also played extremely well in this tournament. His team, HIFK, was eliminated in the semi-finals of the Liiga playoffs. In the U18 tournament, he has eight points in four games and has looked great, playing an important leading role for Team Finland.

 

Niko Salminen