The 3-2 Kuopio Steelers will be looking for a measure of revenge when they play host to the 4-1 Helsinki Wolverines Thursday, July 11 at Väinölänniemi Stadium as Finland’s Maple League rolls towards midseason.
These two teams met a couple of weeks ago with Helsinki pounding out a 54-21 win over the Steelers, 2018 Finnish championship game finalists.
Despite a great opening to the season with a 57-41 win over the Helsinki Roosters, the Steelers have been up and down. They then lost to the Porvoo Butchers but followed that with victories over the Wasa Royals and Tampere Saints.
So this game is big for both teams.
For Kuopio, Gerard Johnson has been a key. Johnson stepped in at quarterback against the Butchers with Peters out and threw for 135 yards while also rushing for 87 and one touchdown. Peters returned for the game against the Wolverines and so far this season has thrown for 741 yards in four games. If he doesn’t, look for Johnson to play a lot of “Wildcat” formation although he has proven he can throw. And he will have to given the Royals front seven.
After opening the season with four convincing wins, the Wolverines have were brought down to earth with a thud last week against the Roosters getting beaten 42-13. The loss was a shock to most in the way it happened. The Roosters exploded for all 42 points in the first half. Previous to this game, Helsinki had beaten the Steelers 54-21 the week before and handed the Wasa Royals a 27-13 defeat the week before that. They had started the year downing the Seinäjoki Crocodiles 47-29 and then rolling over the Tampere Saints 66-27.
For the Wolverines, head coach, offensive coordinator and starting quarterback Robert Johnson (Texas Tech) is the key to the offense and has thrown for 1,352 yards and 17 TDs and, along with running back William Young, who is averaging 110.2 yards a game, presents opposing defenses with problems.
This game will be a treat to watch.