Historic win for Tappara

Finnish team beats Florida Panthers in Tampere


Ville Nieminen (left, at the 2006 Olympics) scored the game-winning goal for his native team Tappara Tampere in the historic win against the Florida Panthers. Photo: Europhoto

TAMPERE, Finland – It’s not Davos, it’s not the ZSC Lions. The first European team to beat an NHL team in the post-Soviet era did it before any of Swiss teams at the Victoria Cup had the chance to do the same. Tappara Tampere edged the Florida Panthers in a 3-2 shoot-out victory.

In the previous six Finland-vs-NHL games only HIFK Helsinki had been able to defeat the New York Rangers in 1981, 4-1. Tappara had lost its only clash against an NHL team, in 1994, to the Winnipeg Jets, 8-2.

Not this time.

Nathan Horton opened the scoring for the Panthers at 8:24 but Tomi Peltonen equalized 34 seconds later.

At 42:10, the Americans regained the lead with a goal from Mike Duco but Tappara equalized again when Jyri Junnila tied the game at two just five minutes later.

With no winner after 65 minutes of play, the 6,203 fans got to see a shoot-out and the home crowd liked the outcome. Tappara won with Ville Nieminen scoring the game-winning goal. Florida’s Ville Koistinen, a Tampere native, Steven Reinprecht, and Michael Frolik failed with their attempts.

Finnish goalkeepers Harri Säteri and Mika Lehto combined for 44 saves.

It’s the first time an NHL team has been defeated by a European club team since Dynamo Moscow beat the Quebec Nordiques in 1991 in the last NHL-vs-Soviets clash.



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