Finland: Helsinki Roosters take key win over Wasa Royals

The Helsinki Roosters fell behind early but then recovered and rolled over the visiting Wasa Royals, beating them 55-27 at the Käpylä Velodrome in Helsinki as Finland’s Maple League passed the midpoint of the season.

This was the second meeting between these two teams in just over a week and the third game for the Royals in eight days. Helsinki also won the first game, 43-28.

However, it was Wasa that struck first, taking advantage of an early Roosters fumble. The Royals took over on their own 38 yard line and quarterback Tim Morovick wasted no time, marching his team down to the Helsinki 15 yard line in six plays. He called his own number on a second and seven, scrambling into the end zone to give his team a 7-0 lead.

The Roosters evened the score at 7-7 on the very next possession as quarterback Dimitrios Sinodinos hit Willem Kajander for a spectacular 53 yard touchdown.

Helsinki took the lead early in the second quarter as Sinodinos orchestrated a five-play 60 yard drive capping it by finding his way into the end zone from three yards out.

Two minutes later, with the Royals offense unable to move the ball, Sinodinos connected with Kajander again, this time for a 41 yard score to up the lead to 21-7. Morovick, however, wasn’t done, as he marched Wasa from their own 33 yard line down to the Roosters four yard line, carrying the ball himself five of the six plays (including a 43 yarder) and then scored from three yards out to narrow the lead to 21-14.

Photo: Jarmo Vehkomäki,

Helsinki responded immediately with a nine-play 66 yard march which Ville Hämäläinen finished off with a 10 yard touchdown run to make the score 28-14 heading into the break.

The Roosters added to the lead on the opening drive of the second half as Sinodinos found Kajander for his third touchdown of the game from four yards out. With the score now 35-14, the wear and tear of playing three games in eight days now began to show on the tired Royals squad. Helsinki got the ball back after a brief Wasa possession and went back to work as Sinodinos drove them 78 yards in seven plays with Hämäläinen scoring his second touchdown of the game, this one a five yarder, to give the Roosters a seemingly insurmountable 42-14 lead with just over three minutes left in the third quarter.

Morovick narrowed the lead to 42-20 after hitting Alpha Jalloh for a 32 yard touchdown as the third quarter ended.

The Roosters offense was unstoppable on this day though and Lehtinen scored to make it 48-20 early in the fourth on a 26 yard run.

Although Morovick led his team on another successful drive, this time scoring his third touchdown of the game to close the gap again, to 48-27, the Royals defense could not stop the Roosters. With time running down, backup quarterback Jerry Silomas threw a seven yard touchdown pass to San Vehkomaki to wind up the scoring and give Helsinki an important 55-27 win.

Morovick threw for 127 yards and one touchdown but rushed for another 89 and three scores to lead the Royals. Alpha Jalloh hauled in six passes for 91 yards and a touchdown.

For Helsinki, Sinodinos completed 14 of 21 passes for 241 yards and three touchdowns while rushing for 33 yards and another score. Lehtinen had 14 carries for 110 yards and one touchdown while Hämäläinen rushed 14 times for 82 yards and two touchdowns. Kajander caught four passes for 109 yards and three touchdowns while Vehkomaki hauled in seven for 107 yards and a score.

With the win, the Roosters moved past the Royals into fifth place with five games left in the regular season.

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