After a sour start to the Junior A playoffs that saw [url=http://www.sm-liiga.fi/finhockey2/sjl_tulospalvelu_popup.asp?ottelu_id=33339&TID=1451&ilman=true]Karri Ramo
drop the first game of the series 7-2[/url], Ramo and Pelicans A struck back today to tie the series at 1-1. Buoyed by a [url=http://www.sm-liiga.fi/finhockey2/sjl_tulospalvelu_popup.asp?ottelu_id=33343&TID=1451&ilman=true]first star performance that saw Ramo stop 31 of 32 shots, Pelicans A beat TPS A 2-1 today to even the best of five.[/url] Game Three is slated for tomorrow, March 7th.
Ramo's resiliance in staking his team to a very important 2-1 win was undeniable today. Many young goaltenders' confidence and focus might have been shattered after seeing a shutout streak of 194:51 dissolve into a horrendous 4 goal third period like the one Ramo faced in Game One against TPS A. However, just as Ramo has already proven he has the advanced maturity to compete at the SM-liiga level this season, he proved today he also has the maturity to put aside a bad loss and once again elevate his game when the chips are down. Now with the series knotted up the Cinderella Pelicans A have shortened their series against second seed TPS A into a best of three where anything can happen.
In related news, Karri Ramo isn't the only Lightning prospect named Karri playing in the Junior A playoffs. Center Karri Akkanen
, a 2002 6th round selection, is currently playing for 8th seeded Tapparra A against top seed Ilves A. To this point, Tapparra A has been unable to solve highly touted netminder Tuukka Rask and have been shut out 1-0 and 2-0 respectively in Game One and Game Two of the series. Tapparra A will attempt to stave off elimination tomorrow, March 7th. Akkanen, who finished the regular season with a mediocre 6 goals and 12 points in 29 games is pointless thus far in the playoffs with a -1 rating and 12 penalty minutes. Akkanen, of course, has motive for revenge in the series as Ilves A dumped Akkanen due to poor conditioning and a perceived lack of work ethic, but to this point Akkanen has done nothing in this series to answer those detractors.