JYP Bests Ilves at Unikie Cup

Apr 20, 2023 | World Hockey Hub

2010-born Finnish youth hockey team JYP.
Photo from Instagram | @edu.jkl

U13 club ends tournament run as only undefeated team

Ilves and JYP clashed last Friday in one of the more exciting games of pool-play action at the 2023 Unikie U13 Spring Cup. A 2-1 win for JYP was one of six games decided by one goal on the first day of tournament action. Onni Olkkola’s goal with just under seven minutes left in the contest proved to be the game winner for JYP. The victory wrapped up a perfect 3-0-0 record in Group E. Ilves, despite the loss, finished second in the group.

It wouldn’t be the last time the two teams met in the tournament. Both JYP and Ilves managed to win in the semifinals to set the stage for a rematch on Sunday. Ilves jumped out to an early lead, thanks to a goal from Kalle Havakka six minutes into the game. However, 17 saves from Roni Rautiainen would hold Ilves to just the lone goal on the scoreboard. Veeti Virolainen, Terho Antila and Wäinö Tuomaala would fuel a comeback for JYP in a 3-1 championship victory. The win gave JYP its second of the tournament over Ilves, and fifth overall as they completed a 5-0-0 gold medal run.

JYP displays incredible scoring depth

Four of the top 10 scorers at the conclusion of the tournament all hailed from JYP. Kalle Viitanen led the tournament in scoring after producing back-to-back three-point games in pool play. He added another multi-point game in the semifinals against Kiekko-Espoo EKS to push his tournament total to five goals and eight points. Veeti Virolainen and Elias Rantanen also finished among the top scorers in the tournament with six points apiece. Rounding out JYP’s impressive lineup were Onni Olkkola, Terho Antila and Eliel Halonen, who all tied with five points. 

Having a bevy of offensive options allowed JYP to dominate group play. Initially placed with Kiekko-Laser, Ilves and Kiekko-Espoo Blues, JYP outscored them all by a combined 14-1. Ilves was the lone team able to get a puck past Roni Rautiainen in net. 

As a result of its first-place finish, JYP drew K-Espoo EKS in its semifinal game. Rantanen, Halonen and Olkkola all recorded at least three points in an 8-3 win. In the opposite semifinal, Ilves was matched with first-place finisher Tappara, who went 3-0-0 in group play. Juho Nyberg notched both goals and Mio Nieminen made 23 saves in a 2-0 win for Ilves. That set the stage for the championship rematch between JYP and Ilves. 

With three of JYP’s top four scorers kept at bay, Ilves managed to get an early 1-0 lead. The trio of Viitanen, Rantanen and Olkkola combined for 11 of JYP’s 24 goals in the tournament. However in the championship, they struggled to find the back of the net in the rematch with Ilves. That’s when Terho Antila and Wäinö Tuomaala were able to break through, to gain a lead for JYP late in the championship. 

The pair of goals from its depth players fueled JYP to a come-from-behind win over Ilves. The victory was their fifth of the weekend, and clinched the gold medal. 

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