LIVESTREAM Finland: Wasa Royals @ Helsinki Wolverines, Aug. 7, 18:30 EEST (17:30 CET, 11:30 ET)

Friday Night Football continues in week 2 of Finland’s Maple League with a battle of the undefeateds as the Helsinki Wolverines (1-0) play host to the Wasa Royals (1-0) on August 7.

The Wolverines are coming off of a huge week one win at home against the Seinäjoki Crocodiles. Helsinki’s passing attack looked potent behind new quarterback Chris Forcier. Forcier threw for 255 yards a touchdown. Four of his passes were caught by new wide receiver Sebastien Sagne. Sagne had 130 yards receiving and would’ve had a touchdown to add to his stats if he didn’t receive an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty as he waved to the crowd before crossing the goal line.

Wasa Royals @ Helsinki Wolverines, Aug. 7, 18:30 EEST (17:30 CET, 11:30 ET)

Another new player that made a huge impact for the Wolverines was defensive end Ville Valasti. Valasti is a former Eastern Michigan player who is back in his hometown of Helsinki. He made 4.5 total tackles including a sack and 2.5 tackles for a loss in his return home. Not to be outdone by the former NCAA Division 1 player was young defensive back Arttu Ketonen who snagged three interceptions and a fumble recovery, shifting the momentum of the game.

Helsinki Wolverines QB Chris Forcier threw for 255 yards last week Photo: Jari Turunen

Ketonen had some thoughts on his defensive unit:

“Yeah, everything was clicking on defense, and I gotta give huge props to the big guys on the line for getting great pressure in.”

The visiting Wasa Royals also shifted the momentum in last week’s win. The Royals charged back from a 28-7 deficit, using big plays to jump start their offense. A 69-yard rush by running back Tom Suoste helped start the rally. Followed by Royals wide receiver Alpha Jalloh who took the lead on an amazing 92-yard punt return touchdown. The Royals rushing attack was dominant as they ran for over 300 yards on the ground. New quarterback Brandon Gwinner and Suoste combined for 253 yards and 5 touchdowns on the ground. Gwinner had some thoughts on last week’s performance.

“We started off pretty rough in the first half but once we got into a rhythm and started to relax on both sides of the ball. We started to produce like I know we could. In the second half we showed what we are capable of doing on the field”

Similar to the Royals offense, their defense showed second half dominance, allowing only seven points after the half. A key interception in the red zone off a tipped pass, along with two second half sacks helped smother the Butchers offense. The Royals defensive unit was led by defensive back Viktor Manty who totaled 9.5 tackles, 4 tackles for a loss, and sack. As a whole, the unit did a great job of tackling in the open field holding an explosive Butchers’ receiving core to minimal yards after the catch.

Wasa Royals QB Brandon Gwinner in action against Porvoon Butchers last week Photo: Samppa Toivonen

The Royals have beefed up their defense with the return of linebacker Zach Blair. Blair played in the last four games of the 2019 season for the Royals recording 23.5 tackles and 8.5 tackles for loss (28 yards).

Maple League fans are excited to see who which of these teams will show that they are contenders. In this shortened 2020 season, every game matters. Both the Wolverines and the Royals have shown the talent to be in the playoffs. Friday night’s matchup could have vital playoff seeding implications.

Watch the game live here. Wasa Royals @ Helsinki Wolverines, Aug. 7, 18:30 EEST (17:30 CET, 11:30 ET)

Live stats available here.

 

Alex Malchow
Alex is a former professional American football player who is now studying in London. His goal writing for AFI is to stay involved with the game that has given him so much. Alex enjoys covering leagues and players and sharing different football stories from across the globe.
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