Finland’s Maple League Playoff Preview: Hämeenlinna Huskies

The 2017 Maple League Playoffs are finally here!! After 15 weeks, only the Helsinki Roosters, Wasa Royals, Hämeenlinna Huskies, and Porvoon Butchers have a chance to win the Vaahtera Malja!  It’s been a very interesting season, seeing all of the playoff teams look like the best team in the league at some point. But now as the first weekend of playoff games approaches, I’d like to tell you a little bit about the best four teams in Finland. Today we will be looking at the newest team in the Maple League, the Hämeenlinna Huskies.

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HÄMEENLINNA HUSKIES (8-4)

Photo Credit: Hilarious Hobbit

OFFENSE

You can call the Huskies offense whatever football term you want, but at its most basic concept it’s pretty simple: Stan Bedwell puts the ball in the hands of playmakers. When this offense is clicking, it looks like a highlight film on repeat. The Huskies don’t run a million plays, but they do have a large amount of variations to their formations and base plays which make it difficult to truly stop their scheme from a defensive standpoint. Good Plays + Playmakers = Hämeenlinna Huskies offense. As long as they continue to use this equation, the Huskies will be a force to be reckoned with in the playoffs.

DEFENSE

The defensive front for the Huskies is the best in the Maple League. James Perrineau, Juha Yli-Arvela, and Jani Lindqvist might not all be atop the stat sheet, but every week teams must make life choices about which to leave single blocked. Added to this group, linebackers Tahj Jones and David Izinyon are ball hawks who refuse to be blocked. The pressure this group puts on offenses every week is why the Huskies are such a formidable opponent in the Maple League.

Photo Credit: Hilarious Hobbit

KEY PLAYERS

MVP candidate Roman Runner is the most versatile player in the Maple League. Runner has the ability to impact the game offensively, defensively, and on special teams. He needs to be double teamed, not thrown to, and avoided on kicks. That’s a lot of effort teams have to spend towards preventing one player from changing the outcome of the game. But let’s not forget that Niko Lester is capable of making teams suffer as well, especially as a runner after the catch. Another player that will make a huge impact in the playoffs is defensive back Aku Kattainen. Kattainen has a nose for the football and is due a pick sometime soon.

Photo Credit: Hilarious Hobbit

X-FACTOR

The X-factor for the Hämeenlinna Huskies is Belgian receiver Reuben De Ruyter. Everyone has seen the Huskies at their best and can see who the playmakers are. De Ruyter has been under the radar all season due to various reasons, and still looks like an unknown to most opponents. But it’s the playoffs! There is no doubt that Stan Bedwell will do some unique things to get Roman Runner and Niko Lester the ball, but Reuben De Ruyter will be the difference maker for the Huskies in the moment it matters most. They do so much more than make waffles in Belgium!!

Photo Credit: Hilarious Hobbit

 GAME INFORMATION

The Maple League Playoffs start Saturday, August 26, with the Hämeenlinna Huskies (3) versus the Wasa Royals (2) at Kaarlen Kenttä, Vaasa 15:30 UTC +3. Sunday, August 27, will be the Porvoon Butchers (4) versus the Helsinki Roosters (1) at Myyrmäen Jalkapallostadion, Vantaa 15:30 UTC+3. Both games will be televised on the Ruutu subscription service. Good luck to all the teams and players involved!

 

*For more articles by Perfect Pervis visit his Blog

Perfect Pervis
Perfect Pervis is a football enthusiast from Texas City, Texas. Perfect currently resides in Finland, playing & coaching American Football and writing a blog about the football culture in Europe.
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