European Leagues

KHL Game Day: 9-12-11

KHL
Cherepovets 3 @ Dynamo Moscow 1
Vasily Koshechkin, Cherepovets, Win, 26/27, 1.01 GAA, .963 sv%
Season totals: 1 GP, 1-0-0, 0 SO, 1.01 GAA, .963 sv%

Evgeny Ketov had 1 goal and 1 assist and Vasily Koshechkin made 26 saves in Cherepovets' 3-1 opening victory over Dynamo Moscow.

CSKA 3 @ Khanty-Mansiysk 2
Nikita Kucherov, CSKA, 0-0-0, E, 2 PIM, 1 SOG
Season totals 1 GP, 0-0-0, E, 2 PIM

Nikita Kucherov had 2 penalty minutes in 9:03 of ice time in CSKA's 3-2 opening victory over Yugra. Ex-Lightning camper Niklas Persson had a helper in the match for CSKA. CSKA faces Omsk on Wednesday, 9/14, for their next match.

MHL
Orenberg 4 @ Chelyabinsk 6
Nikita Nesterov, Chelyabinsk, 1-1-2, 0 PIM, +2
Season totals: 3 GP, 3-2-5, +7, 2 PIM

Nikita Nesterov is off to a hot start for Chelyabinsk's junior team in the MHL, with a power play goal today in their win over Orenberg. Chelyabinsk is 2-1 thus far this season. Their next match is on Wednesday, 9/14, against Ufa's junior team.

Prospect Season Postponed

In light of the tragic crash of the plane carrying the Yaroslavl Lokomotiv club, the KHL has announced a revised schedule for the season. The opening of the season has been pushed back to 9/12, when Vasily Koshechkin and Cherepovets will face Dynamo Minsk and Nikita Kucherov and CSKA will face off against Khanty-Mansiysk. The date will also feature the emotional return of Yaroslavl to the ice against Dynamo Moscow. The league has yet to formally announce how the team's roster will be replaced, as decisions have been deferred until after the memorial service for the team.

BoltProspects would like to extend its deepest sympathies to the families and friends of all of the players and crew who lost their life in the crash. In particular, BoltProspects would like to send its sincerest condolences to former Lightning draft pick Ivan Rachunek, whose brother Karel, Yaroslavl's team captain, perished in the tragedy.

Prospect Season Starts Next Week

With the passing of August, the summer is on its decline, and hockey season is almost here in North America. But, in Europe, preseason games are already being played and the regular season is set to begin next week. On Thursday, slick scoring prospect Nikita Kucherov and CSKA will square off against perennial league power Magnitogorsk in their season opener in the Russian KHL. A week later, on 9/15, action starts in the Finnish SM-liiga where Riku Helenius and JYP will open against KalPa. That day also marks the start of the Swedish Elitserien where Johan Harju and Lulea will face Vaxjo.

Kval till Elitserien Game Day: 4/8/11

MODO 2 @ Sodertalje 0
Riku Helenius, Sodertalje, 24/26, 2.11 GAA, .923 sv%
Season totals: 18 GP, 4-11-0, 0 SO, 3.03 GAA, .884 sv%
Kval till Elitserien totals: 5 GP, 2-1-1, 0 SO, 1.83 GAA, .925 sv%

Former Northern Michigan netminder Tuomas Tarkki made 22 saves to lead MODO to a 2-0 shutout of Sodertalje and a spot in the Elitserien next year. Lightning prospect netminder Riku Helenius made 24 stops, but in the absence of goal support Sodertalje's fate was sealed. The club will be relegated to the Allsvenskan next year. Vaxjo moves up to the Elitserien while MODO, barely, retains their spot in Sweden's top league.

So ends the entry level contract of former first round pick Helenius. The netminder was loaned out to Sodertalje toward the end of last season with the emergence of Jaroslav Janus and he played well in earning Sodertalje's starting job in last year's Kval till Elitserien tournament. This year, however, Helenius' play tanked in the first month of the Elitserien regular season. He lost his starting job to young Pontus Sjogren and did not regain it until the final 3 games of the the Kval till Elitserien round, which may be too little, too late to earn a qualifying offer from the Lightning.

Kval till Elitserien Game Day: 4/6/11

Sodertalje 3 @ Mora 2
Riku Helenius, Sodertalje, Win, 17/19, 2.00 GAA, .895 sv%
Season totals: 18 GP, 4-11-0, 0 SO, 3.03 GAA, .884 sv%
Kval till Elitserien totals: 4 GP, 2-0-1, 0 SO, 1.72 GAA, .926 sv%

Sodertalje peppered Mora with a whopping 47 shots on goal en route to edging Mora 3-2 in their 9th game of the Kval till Elitserien. Lightning prospect Riku Helenius made 17 saves to win his second straight must-win start. Elsewhere, Vaxjo defeated Rogle 4-2 and MODO beat Orebro 4-1.

Vaxjo had already clinched a spot in the Elitserien for next season. With their loss, Rogle will stay in the Allsvenskan. That leaves MODO and Sodertalje tied at 17 points right now with MODO holding the goal differential tiebreaker at +13 to +5. That means Friday's 10th and final round of the Kval till Elitserien will feature an all out battle for all the marbles with MODO visiting Sodertalje. A win keeps the club in the Elitserien next year. A loss means relegation to the Allsvenskan. Time to find out how clutch Riku Helenius can be. Note that in the opening match of the Kval till Elitserien, Sodertalje did defeat MODO 3-2 in a shootout with Pontus Sjogren between the pipes.

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