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Espoo Blues finally break Oulu jinx to secure quarter-final berth
Tampere Ilves also through to last eight
At the sixth time of asking, Espoo Blues finally broke their recent jinx in play-off matches against Oulu Kärpät and progressed to the quarter-finals of the SM-Liiga playoffs with a 2-1 overtime victory in Oulu.
The best-of-three series went to the Espoo side 2-1, with all three games being taken by the team that was on the road.
For the past six seasons, Espoo Blues and Oulu Kärpät have managed to get drawn against each other in the playoffs, and the northern outfit has always emerged on top.
This time a goal from Petri Lammassaari on 78:00 was enough to divide the sides and give Blues a match-up with regular season runners-up Pori Ässät. The first match in the best-of-seven series will be in Pori on Friday.
The other contest in the opening round of the playoffs, to determine which of Tampere Ilves or Hämeenlinna HPK would progress, ended already on Sunday night as Ilves won 5-2 on home ice to wrap up a straightforward 2-0 victory.
Their reward is a chance to take on the runaway regular season winners JYP of Jyväskylä.
The other two matches of the four quarter-finals are between Helsinki Jokerit and local rivals HIFK, and Rauma Lukko against KalPa of Kuopio.