EräViikingit win the most valuable of cups, Tiitu among goal scorers
We are invincible! This is what this year's Czech Open kings, the Finnish team EräViikingit, can claim. They encountered no team that would have defeated them, the only game where they would not earn maximum points possible being a tie with Pixbo. They won all the other matches, effectively dominating the tournament's most prestigious category, Men Elite. They did not leave much space to Höllviken and beat them 2:0.
EräViikingit is a newly formed club which came into being by merging two famous Finnish teams, Tapanilan Erä and SSV Helsinki. Prior to Czech Open, they played only one preparatory match, and they lost that one, so they arrived to the tournament not knowing what to expect.
EräViikingit Executive Director Jari Oksanen said: "Czech Open is a very important preparation tournament for us. We want to play well there while strengthening or creating, to be more precise, the team spirit. The goal being winning as many games as possible, of course."
They ultimately managed to achieve that, but it was not easy. "A difficult tournament, this, as there is not much rest time when you play three games a day," says assistant coach Markus Huhtimo after the final; and he knows what he is talking about: he won Czech Open twice (2000 and 2006) as a player.
The fight for gold took place in a full Arena Podvinný mlýn, and was a one-sided game in the Finns' favour. The play was tactical in the first half, but then EräViikingit struck hard, twice. The secod goal was scored by Tero Tiitu, who still ranks with the best players in the world.
So, the preparation for the new season went extremely well for the new Finnish superteam – gold medals from Czech Open are highly prized.
Men Elite final:
Höllviken IBF – EräViikingit 0:2
Branky: 34. Hyvönen, 40. Tiitu
1. EräViikingit (FIN)
2. Höllviken IBF (SWE)
3. Tatran Omlux Střešovice (CZE), IBF Falun (SWE)
Top scorer: Mika Moilanen (EräViikingit)
Best goalie: Robin Johansson (Höllviken IBF)
Best player: Miko Kailiala (EräViikingit)