Week 2 of Finland’s Maple League kicks off this Thursday August 6 with the defending champion Helsinki Roosters driving up north to visit the Seinäjoki Crocodiles in what looks to be a great Thursday night game.
The Crocodiles are coming off a week one 31-15 loss to the Helsinki Wolverines. Seinäjoki’s passing game struggled totaling only 178 yards and 1 touchdown to the tune of 5 interceptions. A bright spot for the Crocodiles was wide receiver Nathaniel Robitaille, the newcomer from the Schwabisch Hall Unicorns (Germany). Robitaille made a phenomenal catch and scored on a 59-yard pass from Spencer Cutlan. Coach Samu Juppo will look to get this playmaker more involved in week 2. Another weapon this week will be 6’2 wide receiver Tim Thomas. Last time Thomas was in the Maple League in 2017 he had 11 touchdowns and won the championship with the Helsinki Roosters. Thomas is a versatile player with experience at quarterback and wide receiver, he should be a big help to the Crocodiles struggling offense. The Crocodiles running attack is looking to bounce back Thursday after a lackluster effort against the Wolverines. A key to this will be former Colorado University running back Christian Powell. Powell was held to only 32 rushing yards last week.
Powell’s thoughts on week 2:
“We have to play smart, disciplined, and make sure we show up ready to play.”
Defensively, the Crocodiles’ unit was able to make some disruptive plays racking up nine tackles for loss and forcing a fumble. They were led by one of their more experienced club members Jaska Varinen who made seven total tackles on the day. Seinäjoki also added British defensive end Wayne Drew this week. Drew had eight sacks in 10 games for the Saarland Hurricanes in Germany’s second division last season. Their pass defense will be key this week against a high-flying roosters passing attack.
The visiting Roosters are in an unfamiliar position, after losing to the Steelers 43-34 in week one at home. The Roosters are eager to show that they haven’t lost their grasp on the Maple League’s throne.
The Roosters offense was able to move the ball with ease against a stingy Steelers defense gaining 483 total yards. But it was their five turnovers which ended up costing them the game. Unfortunately for the Roosters both starting quarterback Miro Kadmiry and running back Karri Pajarinen left the game with injuries last week. Back up quarterback Henri Vaananen stepped up and promptly threw a beautiful 25 yard completion and ran in a touchdown after Kadmiry went down. Vaananen’s thoughts on Friday’s game.
“”Limit the turnovers and the rest will take care of itself. We know if we play our game and execute, we can beat any team in league.”
On the other side of the ball 18 year old defensive back Artuu Pajarinen showed his tremendous ball skills making a interceptions and a fumble recovery to go along with 6 tackles on the night. Look for Pajarinen and the roosters defense to stack the box to stifle the Crocodiles dangerous running game this Thursday.
Thursday’s game features two hungry teams looking to get their first win of the season. The Roosters are dealing with some injury concerns but their goals remain the same. Meanwhile the Crocodiles are looking to find their identity and a win.
Watch the game live here. Helsinki Roosters @ Seinöjoki Crocodiles, Aug. 6, 18:30 EEST (17:30 CET, 11:30 ET)