Lars Bryggman decided with 58.57 on the clock – Pelicans coach defends Ville Peltonen: “The criticism was unfair”

Lars Bryggman just outsmarted Niko Hovinen.

Lars Bryggman became a major hero as the Pelicans defeated HIFK in the Hockey League playoffs. The Swede equalized 3-3 ten minutes before the end and scored the winning goal a minute before the end of the game.

The seventh and decisive quarterfinal between the Pelicans and HIFK offered twists and drama. At the start of the second period, in 35 seconds, the Pelicans lost a 2-1 lead and a 2-3 deficit.

The Swede Lars Bryggman still ensured that the Pelicans won the game and the series. Bryggman made it 3-3 with 49.26 to play and pushed in the winning puck to make it 4-3 with 58.57 on the clock.

The result means the Pelicans will face Kärpät in the semi-final starting on Friday, while HIFK has finished the season.

The semi-finals

Tappara (1)–KalPa (7)
Pelicans (3)–Kärpät (4)

The peloton’s medalless streak continues

HIFK has invested a lot in its squad, but will again be without a medal. Ville Peltonen, who was heavily criticized, ended his third season as coach and nothing progressed. This year it was only seventh place for Peltonen, who received a two-year contract extension last fall.

– The team is extremely disappointed. I would like to thank the players and everyone in the team. Our wonderful supporters have been a great support. If the club is successful one day, the fans have every right to celebrate, says Peltonen at the press conference.

– But in the same breath I would like to criticize the way they tried to distract our team. The playoffs can be compared to a game that is still ongoing.

Peltonen congratulates the Pelicans and says it was a brilliant playoff series with a slim margin.

Pelicans coach Tommi Niemelä, who shared Peltonen’s game analysis, took his colleague to his defense.

– The criticism that Ville and the team had to endure was unfair, says Niemelä.

– I find it difficult to understand since the series is still running. Regardless of whether it’s 3:0 or 3:3. At least we have great respect for the HIFK players and coaches.

HIFKs placements and trainers

2023–24: 7 (Ville Peltonen)
2022–23: 4 (The Peloton)
2021–22: 6 (The Main Draw)
2020–21: 3 (Jarno Pikkarainen)
2019–20: 6 (Pikkarainen)
2018–19: 4 (Pikkarainen)
2017–18: 3 (Ari-Pekka Selin)
2016–17: 4 (Antti Törmänen)
2015–16: 2 (Törmänen)
2014–15: 7 (Törmänen)

Hovinen scored the first goal

The game was initially uneventful and was 0-0 for almost half an hour.

It was Pelicans forward Ryan Lasch who scored the first goal of the game at 29:10. HIFK goalkeeper Niko Hovinen, who has shown excellent performance since taking office as the first goalkeeper, is allowed to score the goal.

Lasch was close to the edge of the penalty area when his shot from a minimal angle surprised Hovinen.

Three minutes later, HIFK countered in the penalty area to make the score 1-1. Miro Väänänen headed into the goal from close range.

The Pelicans regained the lead before the second half when it was Michal Jordán’s turn to direct a puck for his Pelicans. 2:1 for the home team.

At the start of the third period, HIFK quickly turned the tables. Juha Jääskä equalized to 2-2 after 40.30 minutes and Luke Martin made it 2-3 after 41.05 minutes.

The Pelicans and Lars Bryggman still had the final say. The decisive goal came after Bryggman sneaked in front of the goal and shot the decisive puck into the goal from close range. The HIFK strikers Jori Lehterä and Julius Nättinen were able to witness the goal from the front row.

31-year-old winger Bryggman is in his second season with the Pelicans and scored 20+25=45 points in 59 regular season games. Before moving to Lahtis, there were six SHL seasons in Malmö.

Judging by the shooting statistics, the home win was well deserved. The Pelicans won the shootout 33-17.


Pelicans – HIFK 4-3 (0-0, 2-1, 2-2)

29.19 Ryan Lasch (Patrik Carlsson-Lars Bryggman) 1–0
32.36 Miro Väänänen (Juha Jääskä-Trent Bourque) 1-1 BP
36.04 Michal Jordán (Kasper Puutio-Ryan Lasch) 2–1

40.30 Juha Jääskä (Vincent Marleau) 2–2
41.05 Luke Martin (Julius Nättinen-Iiro Pakarinen) 2–3
49.26 Lars Bryggman (Nathan Schnarr-Ryan Lasch) 3-3 PP
58.57 Lars Bryggman (Filip Kral-Patrik Carlsson) 4-3

Niklas Kokko, Pelicans 2+4+8=14
Niko Hovinen, HIFK: 7+9+13=29

Audience: 4,403

Pelicans advance to semifinals 4-3 in games.


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