1 December 2018
The end of November came at a rush – back-to-back games against Sibir, then almost immediately off to the airport for the long journey to Yaroslavl. Amid all the hustle and bustle, though, we had some notable moments to celebrate. We saw a Red Star player get a hat-trick for the first time in the club’s history – and Olli Palola did it in some style. Grabbing two goals in the last 15 seconds of our thrilling 5-5 tie with Sibir, and salvaging a valuable point for the team in the process, deserves greater recognition. So, even though the world’s 24-hour news cycle is determined to consign the present to the history books within moments, we wanted to catch up with Olli once the jet-lag wore off to reflect on a tumultuous game of hockey.
Olli, we can congratulate you on your first ever KHL hat-trick, but I’m sure it’s not the first in your career?
– Yes, that’s right. I had hat-tricks in the Finnish league before, but this is my first in the KHL. And it feels really good to get it.
The way it happened was so exciting, it’s hard to imagine you’ve done something quite like that before?
– Well, yeah. Those quick goals at the end, two goals in 15 seconds, it was really dramatic. I couldn’t really believe what had happened, there was so little time left in the game.
What is it that gets you through a situation like that? Is it luck, instinct or a mix of the two?
– I think it’s more about luck. You go out there to do a job but you need to be lucky. It’s a split second, or a centimeter either way. But the most important thing was that we got a point from the game. It feels good to get a hat-trick but the only thing that matters is getting points for the team.
And now you and Brandon Yip are joint top goalscorers with 10 each. Is that important for you?
– It’s cool, but I hope there are more goals to come. It’s really hard to score, especially at this level. It’s hard work but, if you keep going, at some point the pucks start going in.