Exciting matchups this week in Finland’s Maple League

Finland’s Maple League heads into it third week of play in a “post lockdown COVID-19 pandemic” shortened season.

Watch all the games live on AFI.tv

With only three games left in the five-game season, two favorites have emerged, the 2-0 Kuopio Steelers and 2-0 Wasa Royals. Both the Helsinki Wolverines (1-1) and Seinäjoki Crocodiles (1-1) have won one and lost one while the Helsinki Roosters (0-2) and Porvoon Butchers (0-2) have yet to win a game.

Thursday, August 13: Porvoon Butchers (0-2) @ Helsinki Roosters (0-2)

This is a battle of the two cellar dwelling teams, both of which have struggled offensively and defensively. The Roosters have scored 47 points in two games while Porvoon has two more, 49.  The Butchers have allowed an average of 43.5 points a game while Helsinki has surrendered 38.5 on average.

Roosters quarterback Miro Kadmiry has thrown for 495 yards and three touchdowns while the running game has suffered with the loss of Karri Pajarinen after the first game after rushing for 94 yards. Antti Lahtinen stepped in in the loss to Seinäjoki and rushed for 74 yards. They will need a consistent run game in this contest.

For the Butchers, Jabari Harris has been the offense, throwing for 294 yards and three touchdowns while rushing for 282 and four more. In the 48-21 loss to Kuopio, Porvoon was done in by Lamar Carswell who scored four touchdowns. In other words, if the defense can neutralize Kadmiry and keep the Helsinki running game in check, they have a chance in this game. So far, they have given up an average of 282.5 rushing yards a game.

This will be a game with both teams having their backs against the wall.

Friday, August 14: Seinäjoki Crocodiles (1-1)@ Wasa Royals (2-0)

This is a game between two evenly matched teams with the opening game mistakes behind them, as both looked much sharper last week. In their 34-13 win over the Roosters, Seinäjoki unleashed their run game behind the power of running back Christian Powell who rushed for 145 yards and three touchdowns. Quarterback Spencer Cutlan was efficient completing seven of 13 passes for 98 yards and one touchdown while rushing for another 18 yards. Wide receiver Nate Robitaille hauled in four passes for 60 yards and one touchdown and then scored another on defense (he started at corner) when he caught a lateral from Alex Germany off of a fumble recovery, and raced 85 yards to the end zone.

The Royals looked equally impressive in their 36-26 victory over the Helsinki Wolverines. Royals quarterback Brandon Gwinner was outstanding throwing for 280 yards and two touchdowns while rushing for another 111 and three scores. His favorite target, by far, was Alpha Jalloh who caught nine passes for 216 yards and both passing touchdowns.

This game is a toss up with the key players on both squads beginning to perform.

Saturday, August 15: Helsinki Wolverines (1-1) @ Kuopio Steelers (2-0)

Another two teams in the hunt for a playoff spot will square off in the final game of the week. The Wolverines suffered a tough 36-26 loss at home to the Royals but for three quarters were without the services of starting quarterback Chris Forcier who was forced to leave the game early with a foot injury. He did return to start the fourth quarter with Helsinki trailing 28-13 and immediately had an impact tossing a 52 yard touchdown pass to Cedric Johnson. On the night, in a quarter and a half of action, he completed seven of 13 for 149 yards and a touchdown while rushing for 67 yards and another two scores. He has arguably the best receiving corps in the Maple League to throw to. In the win, Johnson has caught eight passes for 198 yards and two touchdowns in the two games while Sebastian Sagne has six catches for 159 yards and Micky Kyei six for 49.  In the loss, running back Jonatan El Quacef had 14 carries for 95 yards and a touchdown.

So Helsinki with Forcier in the lineup can be dangerous.

The Steelers were a force in their 48-21 win over Porvoon with running back Lamar Carswell leading the way. Carswell was a one-man wrecking crew rushing for 281 yards and four touchdowns, averaging a staggering 28.1 yards a carry. Steelers quarterback Seth Peters tossed three touchdown passes completing 10 of 25 passes for 188 yards. Wide Receiver Josh Vandeweerd had five catches for 97 yards and a touchdown with Tino Ndongo catching one for 60 and a score with Ville Lindsten also scoring on a short pass.

Carswell leads the league in rushing after two games with 32 carries for 360 yards and seven touchdowns. Meanwhile, Johnson and Sagne are the third and fourth leading receivers.

This could be the Steelers ground game versus Helsinki’s aerial attack.

Watch all the games live on AFI.tv



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