LIVESTREAM Maple Bowl: Helsinki Wolverines v. Kuopio Steelers, Sept. 12, 16:30 EEST (15:30 CET, 09:30 ET)

The 2020 Maple Bowl is here! Finland’s champion will be crowned today as the Kuopio Steelers and Helsinki Wolverines will be facing each other for the chance to hoist the trophy. This highly anticipated matchup will be one of the most important games in Europe this year.

The Helsinki Wolverines go into the championship game after a rocky up and down season. But after making some adjustments, they have been able to catch fire on offense and play a consistent level on defense winning them three straight games. They made it to the Maple Bowl by beating the Helsinki Roosters on the last game of the regular season in an emotionally charged Thursday night rivalry game. Then just last week in the semi-final Wolverines kicker Tomi Jokinen hit a short field goal to take a one point lead with only  seconds left.  With that kick Helsinki was able to edge out the Wasa Royals in one of the best games in Europe this season winning 42-41 in Wasa. Wolverines Head Coach Michael Mattingly  commented on his team after the emotional victory:

“It was a crazy game, I’m so happy we are in the Maple Bowl. We fought through a lot winning the last three, but I’m excited, and Kuopio is pretty damn good team so we’ll see how it goes next week in Lahti. Go Wolverines!”

Fatigue could play a role in the Championship as Helsinki had many key players playing both sides of the ball last week. Their defense will certainly be put to the test again facing off against an explosive Kuopio offense. A key to their victory last week was athlete Micky Kyei. Kyei played defensive back, running back, and special teams making an impact whenever he was on the field. He even had a key fumble recovery that set up their gaming winning field goal with less than 2 minutes left to play. Kyei’s statistics from the Semi-Final are quite impressive, totalling 180 all-purpose yards, including 157 rushing, 1 touchdown, 1 interception, and 2.5 tackles. Look for Kyei to be all over the field for the Wolverines in the championship game.

Helsinki Wolverines v. Kuopio Steelers, Sept. 12, 16:30 EEST (15:30 CET, 09:30 ET)

For the Kuopio Steelers they enter the Maple Bowl as the clear favorite to win it. Kuopio’s defense was able to shut down the Seinajoki Crocodiles last week in the Semi-Final and through that, avenged their only loss of the regular season. Defensively the Steelers unit swarmed to the ball and held the league’s leading rusher Christian Powell to only 38 yards. Kuopio defenders totaled 5 tackles for a loss on the day. Part of that great defensive performance was Linebacker Kadel King who had 2.5 tackles, offered some thoughts on the upcoming championship:

“It (the Maple Bowl) would mean a lot because they have been so close in the last couple years but fell short. It would be a big step to making Kuopio the next Finnish powerhouse.”

Quarterback Seth Peters and the Kuopio Steelers are now heading into third straight championship game and looking for their first win. This championship game experience should help the Steelers on the field. On the other hand Steelers running back Lamar Carswell is almost finished with his very first season playing in Europe. Carswell looked fantastic last week gaining 228 all-purpose yards and scoring 4 touchdowns. His most impressive play came at the end of the first half, where he caught a screen pass and took it 49 yards to the end zone with no time left on the clock. This play completely swung the momentum of the game.

Interestingly enough both of these teams faced each other in the Spaghetti Bowl Finland’s 1st division championship in 2017, with the Steelers winning behind 70-46 behind a strong game from current quarterback Seth Peters who threw for 6 touchdowns on that day. Now just three years later Peters and the Steelers will face the same Helsinki Wolverines team for a chance at another championship this time at the country’s highest level.

This years Maple Bowl is of course a rematch of a week 3 matchup where we saw the Steelers thrash the Wolverines at home. But in this shortened season, this is not the same Wolverines team we saw in the third game of the season. Look for this year’s Maple Bowl to be filled with explosive plays, big hits, and exciting play.

Watch the game live here. Helsinki Wolverines v. Kuopio Steelers, Sept. 12, 16:30 EEST (15:30 CET, 09:30 ET)

Click to access live stats.

Kuopio Steelers starting lineup and roster (Click image to enlarge)

Helsinki Wolverines starting lineup and roster (Click image to enlarge)

Alex is a former NCAA and semi-pro American football player who is now located in London, where he works in digital marketing. His goal in writing for AFI is to stay involved with the game that has given him so much. Alex enjoys covering leagues and