The undefeated Hämeenlinna Huskies will face their most difficult test yet Monday night in Hämeenlinna, Finland when they host the unbeaten Helsinki Roosters, Maple Bowl champions in 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, and 2016.
The defending Finnish champion Roosters have picked up where they left off in 2016, and are currently 5-0 in the Maple League and 8-0 overall after winning the prestigious Northern Football League title. The NEFL is a tournament for the top teams in Scandinavia and Great Britain. The Roosters come to Kauriala ranked #6 in Europe.
The Huskies have been one of the biggest surprises in all of Europe this season, moving up from the 1st division and winning all four games in Maple League so far. Outscoring their opponents by an average of 40 points, Hämeenlinna is currently ranked #17 in Europe.
Monday’s game will feature two explosive offenses, as the league’s top two quarterbacks go head-to-head. Helsinki’s Brandon Connette has thrown for 1,520 yards with 20 touchdowns in five games, while Hämeenlinna’s Stan Bedwell has passed for 1,091 yards and 15 touchdowns in four games. Both quarterbacks have a wide array of receivers at their disposal. Bernard Luster (467 yards, 8 touchdowns) and Timothy Thomas (367 yards, 6 touchdowns) lead the way for a Roosters receiving corp that has five players with 169+ receiving yards. Roman Runner (248 yards, 5 touchdowns) leads a Huskies receiving corp that has seen eight different players catch touchdown passes.
Huskies linebacker Tahj Jones leads the league’s top defense with 26.5 tackles in four games (third in Maple League). The Roosters Ilja Redin (28 tackles) and Pierre Courageux (26.5 tackles) in five games come in at sixth and seventh in the league in tackles, respectively. Their teammate, Curtis Slater, leads the league with three interceptions in five games, while the Huskies Aku Kattainen is right behind him with two interceptions in four games.
This is the biggest game of the season so far in Finland’s Maple League and will be televised nationally.