The most important Christmas tournament this month for Finnish ‘09 teams
Finnish teams will travel to Linnanmaa Ice Hall in Oulu, Finland, this weekend to take part in the Kärpien U14 Christmas Tournament. The participating programs will be divided into two groups of four, each team will play one contest against fellow group members. Following the preliminary series, the teams will be divided into playoff seedings.
Group A will consist of No. 9 Kärpät Musta, Vasaan Sport, KalPa E Musta, and TIHC. Making up the teams in Group B will be No. 7 Kärpät Valkoinen, JYP Musta, No. 5 KalPa P Musta and KKP Sininen. The ranked teams are all within the Top 10 among fellow ‘09 Finnish clubs.
Kärpät Musta enters the fray winless in their last two, a 6-6 tie with TIHC Tiikerit and a 10-3 loss to Kärpät Valkoinen. Joona Väkeväinen has been a consistent source of offense and stands atop the roster with 27 goals and 49 points.
Group A Prediction: Musta ends the round-robin stage at the top and in prime position to contend for a chance at the championship game.
Competition to get out of Group B will be more fierce, with Valkoinen and KalPa Musta most likely duking it out for the top spot. Both are battle tested against the best that their birth year has to offer from their schedules in group play. Leading Valkoinen into play will be Niklas Helppi and his six-game point streak. In total, Helppi has tallied 31 goals and 44 points this season.
KalPa P Musta will rely on the dependable two-way play of their main point getter, Veeti Pisto, who has struck fairly evenly in competition with 26 goals and 28 assists. Not far behind him is the team’s second leading scorer, Luukas Kokkonen, with 27 goals and 46 points in just six games this season. With both these teams playing in different groups, it will be the first time they will be going head-to-head this season.
Group B Prediction: KalPa P Musta has fared quite well this season against ranked opponents. As a result, seeing Valkoinen on their calendar won’t make them sweat, and they will move on from this batch of teams.
As we mentioned earlier, Kärpät Musta and Kärpät Valkoinen have previously met this season. Other than Kärpät Musta’s most recent loss, they have one win and one other loss against Valkoinen. With a possible tournament championship on the line in their next encounter should they both move on from the preliminary round, the buzz around that tilt would be electric.