The Helsinki Roosters and Kuopio Steelers came out victorious in Finland’s Maple League semifinals this past weekend and return to the Maple Bowl for the second straight year.
Kuopio Steelers 21 – Helsinki Wolverines 17
The Steelers defeated the Helsinki Wolverines 21-17 in a battle of the second and third place teams in the Maple League. Kuopio quarterback Seth Peters threw for 200 yards and three touchdowns with wide receiver Johannes Jauhiainen catching five passes for 120 yards and two of those touchdowns. Ville Lindsten caught the other as the Steelers came from behind twice, as Jauhiainen scored the winning touchdown midway through the fourth quarter erasing a 17-14 Wolverines lead.
Helsinki opened the scoring early in the second quarter as Arttu Erkkilä hauled in a three yard pass from quarterback Robert Johnson. Lindsten answered grabbing a 17 yard touchdown pass from Peters and Jauhiainen then scored on a 60 yard reception to give Kuopio a 14-7 lead at the half. Helsinki crept closer with a a third quarter field goal and then Johnson put his team out in front finding Cedric Johnson from eight yards out two minutes into the fourth quarter.
With the Wolverines leading 17-14, Peters found Jauhiainen two minutes later for a 26 yard touchdown to retake the lead for the Steelers, 21-17. The defense did the rest.
Helsinki Roosters 35 – Seinäjoki Crocodiles 21
The first place Helsinki Roosters jumped out to a 28-7 halftime lead against the fourth place Seinäjoki Crocodiles, adding another score midway through the third and held on for the win. It was a case of too little too late for the Crocodiles as Roosters wide receiver Adam Connette did most of the damage scoring four touchdowns, three in the air and one on the ground.
Helsinki scored on their first four possessions of the game and were only thwarted on their fifth by a goal line interception with seconds to go in the first half. Quarterback Mira Kadmiry threw touchdown passes to Tarmo Pitkänen and Connette (3) as the Roosters controlled the game.
With Helsinki leading 28-7, Crocodiles quarterback Jonathan Baker threw two touchdown passes in the second half, both to Patrick McKoy-Wilson but Connette added his fourth touchdown late in the third quarter, finding a seam and rambling 31 yards.
With the win, the Roosters return to Finland’s championship game, the Maple Bowl for the ninth time in 12 years. Helsinki has won 21 Finnish titles, and the last seven in a row. Kuopio has now advanced to the league final for the second straight season. Helsinki defeated the Steelers in the 2018 Maple Bowl 44-14.