Juho Piiparinen, Luka Arkko named to All-Star Team
It was quite the successful run for the 2008-born Pelicans at the 2022 Viima Hockey Tournament in Helsinki, Finland. On top of nabbing the gold medal out of a field of top Finnish-ranked opponents, two of their players were named to the tournament’s All-Star Team.
The Pelicans were placed in Group A along with KalPa, Kärpät and Jokerit. Group B featured No. 1 HIFK, Kiekko-Espoo, No. 5 JYP and No. 6 TPS.
The tournament started off rocky for the Pelicans, with a 3-1 loss to Jokerit and a 1-1 tie against KalPa. It seemed as if they were headed to a second straight defeat before defenseman Juho Piiparinen knotted the score late to salvage the tie. For his efforts in the game — and the tournament — Piiparinen was named top defenseman at the Viima Tournament.
After narrowly avoiding disaster, the Pelicans rattled off two straight victories over Kärpät and HIFK. That was enough to gain entry into the championship game.
The finale provided a rematch with KalPa, this time with the gold medal on the line.
And what a final game it was.
After KalPa opened up a 2-0 lead, the Pelicans responded with goals about two minutes apart to even things up. In the second period, Joel Tolvanen would score his second goal of the game to put KalPa back in front, 3-2. However, the Pelicans’ leading scorer, Luka Arkko, used his fifth goal of the tournament to tie the game for a second time.
Late in regulation, Arkko would add to his resume with his second goal of the match and the eventual game winner. Making the comeback all the more impressive was that the Pelicans managed to get four pucks past the top goaltender of the tournament, Kasper Koivunen. He had only let in four goals once in all of KalPa’s previous games.
Arkko would finish the tournament with six goals and 11 points while teammate Piiparinen led all Pelicans defenders with three goals and four points.
With the Pelicans securing gold and KalPa earning a hard-fought silver, K-Espoo edged past HIFK, 4-3, for the bronze.
All-Star Team honorees:
Kasper Koivunen, Kalpa
Juho Piiparinen, Pelicans
Nooa Järvenpää, Kiekko-Espoo
Luka Arkko, Pelicans
Oliver Torkki, HIFK
Eemil Saari, JYP