Finland: Kuopio Steelers stay unbeaten with solid win over Helsinki Roosters in regular season finale

By Noah Constantino

The Kuopio Steelers finished the Finnish Maple League regular season with a perfect 12-0 record in beating the Helsinki Roosters 31-14 this past weekend.

With the win, the Steelers head into the Finnish semifinals as the favorites to capture their third straight Maple League title.

Still, in a game where the Roosters were playing without their starting quarterback and turned the ball over four times, the powerhouse Steelers were not as dominant as expected. Especially considering that these two teams face each other in the first round of the playoffs this weekend.

The game started off very tight as neither team were able to put up any points in the first period. At the beginning of the second period, Roosters backup quarterback Ambro Urjansson, who was replacing injured starter Bryce Stancombe, gave Helsinki the first lead of the game plunging into the end zone from two yards out.

After getting the ball back with a strong defensive stop, Helsinki looked to continue the momentum, but a fumble gave the ball back to the Steelers and four plays later quarterback Joey Bradley connected with Kaapo Peurakumpu for a 46 yard touchdown to even the score at 7-7.

However, just when it looked like the Roosters would bounce back, things only got worse as the Steelers capitalized once again on defense. This time, Urjansson by Iiro Pekkarinen who returned it for a touchdown giving Kuopio the lead.

The Steelers added a field goal, but Helsinki showed some life but putting the ball in the endzone once again making the score 17-14 heading into halftime. However, that was all the scoring the Roosters could muster as turnovers would once again be the story of the second half for Helsinki.

Throughout the second half, the Roosters drives fizzled out thanks to turnovers and in the fourth quarter Kuopio capitalized with league rushing leader Le’Anthony Reasnover scoring twice, both times from five yards out.

Kuopio and Helsinki will face each other again this Friday, September 2 in the first round of the Maple League playoffs.

In other action, the Helsinki Wolverines clinched second place with a 34-20 win over the United Newland Crusaders while the Seinäjoki Crocodiles defeated the Porvoon Butchers 35-9 to finish third.

The Wolverines will host Seinäjoki in the other semifinal game this coming weekend.

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