TURKU, Finland â€“ The team made the playoffs - the top 8 - for the second time in five years, and swept Lukko Rauma in the quarterfinals. Regular season winners JYP JyĂ¤skylĂ¤ took two wins against TPS in the semi-final series, but two doesnâ€™t win a playoff series in the SM-liiga. In the final series, TPS took a 3-0 lead, dropped a game, but finished the job in HĂ¤meenlinna on Wednesday, hoisted the Canada Bowl, and put an end to the European club season.
â€śWe played better and better by the end of the regular season, and we thought that we could beat everybody in the playoffs because we managed to take wins against everybody in the regular season as well,â€ť Antti Erkinjuntti told Finnish YLE.
â€śThat was our goal. It was tough, and probably somebody would think that it was unrealistic, but we believed in it, and see what happened. This is great,â€ť he said.
Head coach Kai Suikkanen took reigns of the team halfway through last season, and took the team to the top 8 for the first time. Last year, then-regular season winner JYP was too good in the first round, but the coach and the team went back to work.
â€śThis means so much to me and to all the players. Before the final series, we talked about how many players have played over 15 years in Finland without even getting a chance to play for the championship,â€ť Suikkanen told MTV3.
Suikkanen did things his way. For example, he used both goalies throughout the post-season. David Leggio, a 25-year-old American, played all home games - but one - and Atte Engren, 22, played in the away games - and one home game - including Game 5 in the final series.
Leggioâ€™s goals against average was 1.57, and save percentage 94.24. Engrenâ€™s numbers were 1.82 and 93.59, respectively.
Ilari Filppula, the older brother of Valtteri, of the Detroit Red Wings, was awarded the Jari Kurri Trophy as the playoffs most valuable player.