It was a feeling Henri Ikonen couldn’t describe.
Representing Finland in the 2014 World Junior Championships and winning his homeland’s first gold medal since 1998 was a memory he will never forget.
To top it off, the Finns beat host (and rival) Sweden in overtime.
“It was an unbelievable experience,” Ikonen said. “The best two weeks of my life.”
With his professional career just getting started, Ikonen is hoping to make many more memories like the one he had in Sweden. But the Syracuse Crunch forward is taking it one step at a time.
“I just go to the rink every morning and do my best there,” Ikonen said.
Back to .500.
Cedrick Desjardins allowed 3 goals on 36 shots for the victory.
SYR Angelidis, (12) (Ikonen, Connolly), 1:00 (PP)
SYR Paradis, (6) (DiSalvatore, Angelidis), 12:33
SYR Gourde, (6) (DiSalvatore, Connolly), 18:38 (PP)
TOR Carrick, (11) (Ross), 3:29
SYR Marchessault, (20) (Cote, Erne), 10:25
SYR Marchessault, (21) (Connolly, Cote), 12:38 (SH)
TOR Brennan, (23) (Ross, Carrick), 19:18
TOR McKegg, (18) (Marshall, Kozun), 4:09
SYR Connolly, (20) (Namestnikov, Ikonen), 17:17
Jonathan Marchessault, Brett Connolly, and Mike Angelidis were the game's three stars. New Crunch forward Henri Ikonen managed his first two AHL points on helpers to bookend the scoring for Syracuse. The 4 point night for Connolly points to him potentially providing some depth options to Tampa Bay in the playoffs as well. As I said after last night's win, this team is figuring out some of its chemistry for next season, and guys like Gourde and Marchessault finding their grooves bodes well for a bounce back next year. The team is back to .500 with 4 games left in the regular season, and if they can finish with a winning record that will be a major accomplishment considering this franchise supplied 9 prospects who became full time NHLers in Tampa Bay this season.
Box score and extended statistics from NHL.com.
Playing out the string, Crunch still sorting out themselves for next season.
Cedrick Desjardins allowed 2 goals on 31 shots before allowing 2 of 5 to convert in the penalty shot session for the Shootout loss.
WBS Kobasew, (9) (Ebbett, Dumoulin), 4:46 (PP)
SYR Namestnikov, (19) (Korobov, Connolly), 8:18 (PP)
SYR DiSalvatore, (11) (Marchessault, Mormina), 16:09 (PP)
WBS Kobasew, (10) (Machacek, Dumoulin), 7:28 (PP)
WBS- Zlobin, Machachek
Syracuse remains stuck at 1 game under .500 with 5 games left in their season.
Box score from TheAHL.com.
After his first practice with the Syracuse Crunch Tuesday, Henri Ikonen spent some extra time on the ice working with fellow rookies.
Ikonen, who signed an entry level contract with the Tampa Bay Lightning Sunday and will finish the season on an amateur tryout with Syracuse, liked the brisk, energetic pace at practice. The 2013 sixth-round draft pick admits he may not be the most skilled player, but prides himself on the effort he puts in.
“I’m a good skater, so I bring some speed,” the 5-11, 184-pound winger said. “I can battle in the corners, win battles and take the puck to the net, and hopefully score some goals from there.”
TAMPA BAY – The Tampa Bay Lightning have signed forward Henri Ikonen to an entry-level contract today, vice president and general manager Steve Yzerman announced. He will report to the Syracuse Crunch of the American Hockey League for the remainder of the season on an amateur tryout contract.
Ikonen, 19, played in 54 games with the Kingston Frontenacs of the Ontario Hockey League this season, posting 25 goals and 70 points to go along with 49 penalty minutes and a plus-17 rating. He ranked second on the Frontenacs for points and was tied for second for assists with 45. The Savolinna, Finland native scored three shorthanded goals which ranked tied for first on Kingston. Ikonen also skated in seven postseason games for the Frontenacs, recording a goal and six points.
The 5-foot-11, 182-pound forward played in seven games for Team Finland at the 2014 IIHF World Junior Championships in Sweden, recording a goal and three points. Ikonen won the Gold Medal with Team Finland at the tournament.
He has skated in 115 career OHL games, all with Kingston, over the past two seasons, collecting 47 goals and 121 points to go along with 79 penalty minutes. Ikonen set career highs for goals, assists, points, plus/minus and penalty minutes during the 2013-14 season.
Ikonen was selected by the Lightning in the sixth round, 154th overall, at the 2013 NHL Draft.
Points streak goes up in flames in Rochester.
Kristers Gudlevskis allowed 4 goals on 13 shots for the loss before giving way to Cedrick Desjardins, who allowed 1 on 11 shots the rest of the way. In Gudlevskis' defense, Syracuse's defense was not sharp tonight.
RCH Irwin, (4) (Varone, Petrecki), 2:48
RCH Catenacci, (8) (Porter, Armia), 15:43
RCH Irwin, (5) , 17:02
RCH Catenacci, (9) (Armia, Makarov), 3:17
SYR Paquette, (19) (Nesterov, Connolly), 19:53 (PP)
RCH Roy, (7) (Grigorenko, Sundher), 3:32
SYR Korobov, (3) (Paradis), 16:36
Fortunately, Syracuse is about to enter ATO season with Joel Vermin and Adam Erne already in the fold (although they have yet to make their debuts) and Henri Ikonen likely on the way. Vermin and Ikonen, in particular, will be counted on to help turn things around for the Crunch next season.
Box score from TheAHL.com.
Gold Medal Match
Sweden 2 vs. Finland 3 (OT)
Henri Ikonen, Finland, 0-0-0, E, 0 PIM, 3 SOG
Tournament totals: 7 GP, 1-2-3, E, 2 PIM
Buffalo first rounder Rasmus Ristolainen scored 9:42 into overtime to deliver Finland a 3-2 Gold Medal Match victory over rival Sweden. Blackhawks first rounder Teuvo Teravainen assisted on all 3 Finnish goals. Predators 4th round pick, goaltender Juuse Saros was named player of the match turning aside 35 shots in the win.
Bronze Medal Match
Canada 1 vs. Russia 2
Andrey Vasilevskiy, Russia, Win, 30/31, 1.00 GAA, .968 sv%
Tournament totals: 6 GP, 4-2-0, 0 SO, 1.83 GAA, .933 sv%
Jonathan Drouin, Canada, 0-0-0, E, 0 PIM, 1 SOG
Tournament totals: 7 GP, 3-6-9, +5, 24 PIM
Andrey Vasilevskiy got a pair of First Period goals worth of support and that was all he needed as he turned aside 30 shots to lead Russia to a 2-1 victory over Canada in the Bronze Medal Match. Vasilevskiy was named Russia's best player in the match for his efforts. Fellow Lightning prospect Jonathan Drouin was held scoreless for the second time in the tournament, but he did go 53% on draws in defeat.
Drouin finished tied for 7th in scoring in the tournament, 6 points back of Teravainen, who won the tournament scoring title. Digging deeper into the statistics, Drouin was also 7th in the tournament on face-offs at 59%. Vasilevskiy was named one of Russia's 3 top players in the tournament by the coaches but lost out on Best Goaltender and Media All-Star plaudits to Oscar Dansk of Sweden and Saros, respectively. He finished second in the tournament in save percentage and third in goals against average.
Sweden 2 vs. Russia 1
Andrey Vasilevskiy, Russia, Loss, 19/21, 2.01 GAA, .905 sv%
Tournament totals: 5 GP, 3-2-0, 0 SO, 2.02 GAA, .924 sv%
Columbus second rounder Oscar Dansk made 26 saves to help lead Sweden to a narrow 2-1 win over Russia. Pittsburgh third rounder Oskar Sundqvist had the game winning goal for the Swedes. Undrafted forward Damir Zhafyarov had Russia's only goal and was named their team's best player of the match. Vasilevskiy was named one of Russia's top-3 players for the tournament.
Canada 1 vs. Finland 5
Henri Ikonen, Finland, 0-0-0, +1, 0 PIM, 1 SOG
Tournament totals: 6 GP, 1-2-3, E, 2 PIM
Jonathan Drouin, Canada, 1-0-1, +1, 12 PIM, 3 SOG
Tournament totals: 6 GP, 3-6-9, +5, 24 PIM
Blackhawks first rounder and Finnish captain Teuvo Taravainen had 2 goals and 1 assist in Finland's stunning 5-1 blitzing of Canada. Jonathan Drouin scored Canada's only goal, but also took his second penalty for checking to the head and neck area of the tournament, as well. He was not named one of Canada's top-3 players for the tournament.
Canada will square off with Russia in the Bronze Medal Match tomorrow while Finland and Sweden will play for the Gold Medal.
USA 3 vs. Russia 5
Andrey Vasilevskiy, Russia, Win, 30/33, 3.00 GAA, .909 sv%
Tournament totals: 4 GP, 3-1-0, 0 SO, 2.01 GAA, .929 sv%
Adam Erne, USA, 0-0-0, -1, 0 PIM, 2 SOG
Tournament totals: 5 GP, 0-1-1, -1, 0 PIM
Andrey Vasilevskiy made several key stops and Edmonton third rounder Anton Slepyshev had 3 assists as Russia knocked off defending Gold Medalist USA 5-3 in the Quarterfinal Round. New Jersey first rounder Stefan Matteau had 1 goal and 1 assist in defeat for the Americans.
Finland 5 vs. Czech Republic 3
Henri Ikonen, Finland, 1-0-1, E, 0 PIM, 2 SOG
Tournament totals: 5 GP, 1-2-3, -1, 2 PIM
Lightning prospect Henri Ikonen had his first goal of the tournament, a key marker to tie the game at 3-3 early in the Third Period, as Finland pulled away in the final frame to defeat Czech Republic 5-3. Blackhawks first rounder Teuvo Teravainen had 2 helpers in the victory for the Finns.
Canada 4 vs. Switzerland 1
Jonathan Drouin, Canada, 0-0-0, E, 0 PIM, 2 SOG
Tournament totals: 5 GP, 2-6-8, +4, 12 PIM
Despite several dangerous forays in the Swiss zone, Jonathan Drouin was held without a point for the first time in the tournament in Canada's 4-1 win over Switzerland. The forward did go 78% on 9 draws in the win. Islanders first rounder, defenseman Griffin Reinhart, had 1 goal and 1 assist in the win and was named the Canadians' top player in the match.
The Semifinal Round sets up with a big rematch between Sweden and Russia followed by a bout between Canada and Finland. Team USA heads home out of the medals.
Canada 5 vs. Slovakia 3
Jonathan Drouin, Canada, 1-1-2, +2, 12 PIM, 5 SOG
Tournament totals: 3 GP, 2-5-7, +4, 12 PIM
Jonathan Drouin took a minor and misconduct for checking to the head 10 seconds into Canada's thrilling 5-3 win over Slovakia, but rebounded with an assist on Canada's 2nd goal and their 3rd goal to key a huge comeback. The Canadians avoided the trap of getting caught looking ahead to their next opponent tomorrow (USA) that tripped up Russia.
Russia 1 vs. Finland 4
Henri Ikonen, Finland, 0-1-1, E, 0 PIM, 3 SOG
Tournament totals: 3 GP, 0-1-1, -2, 2 PIM
Andrey Vasilevskiy, Russia, DNP
Tournament totals: 2 GP, 2-0-0, 0 SO, 0.67 GAA, .970 sv%
Henri Ikonen assisted on a Third Period PP goal as Finland upset Russia 4-1. The point is Ikonen's first of the tournament. Blackhawks first rounder Teuvo Teravainen had 2 assists. Andrey Vasilevskiy sat backup in preparation for Russia's big matchup with Sweden tomorrow.