CHL Playoffs Game Night 4/11: Fadden Advances, Helenius Finished

Mitch Fadden notches two assists to help Lethbridge move on to the Conference Finals and an injured Riku Helenius watches as the Thunderbirds end their season.

WHL EASTERN CONFERENCE SEMI-FINALS

Game 5: (5) Kootenay Ice 0 @ (3) Lethbridge Hurricanes 3
Lethbridge wins Best of 7 series 4-1

C Mitch Fadden, LET:
Game: 0-2-2, E, 0 PIM
Series: 5 GP, 2-3-5, +1, 9 PIM
Playoffs: 11 GP, 4-9-13, -1, 13 PIM (plus 10 min misconduct)

Though the Kootenay Ice took 5 of 6 from Lethbridge in the regular season, it took the Hurricanes just 5 games to dispose of the Ice to advance to the WHL Eastern Conference Finals. Lightning prospect Mitch Fadden had 2 assists for the ‘Canes, who will await the winner of No.1 Calgary and No.7 Swift Current. Calgary holds a 3-2 lead in that series.

Game 5: (4) Seattle Thunderbirds 0 @ (1) Tri-City Americans 4
Tri-City wins Best of 7 series 4-1

G Riku Helenius, SEA:
Game: Did not play (injured)
Playoffs: 9 GP, 4-4-1, 2.70 GAA, .911 sv%

Seattle may have gotten to all-WHL goalie Chet Pickard in Game 1, but Pickard was outstanding the next four games, including a 32-save shutout Friday to eliminate Riku Helenius and Seattle 4 games to 1. Pickard is expected to be one of the first goalies taken at this summer’s NHL Entry Draft. Colton Yellow Horn had two goals in the game for Tri-City. Helenius did not play in the series after his 42 save loss in Game 3. According to the Lightning, Helenius injured his hand on a shot and the subsequent swelling was so bad he couldn’t fit his glove on properly.

What’s Next for Helenius: Riku had an up and down year, but aside from the injury finished on a high note. He already has an NHL contract in his pocket and will compete for time in AHL Norfolk next fall. The Lightning likes the ECHL for goaltender development, so starting next season with ECHL Mississippi would not be a bad thing for the former first round draft pick. Although regarded as a goaltender of the future for the Bolts, Helenius is a few years away from the NHL and with Mike Smith and Karri Ramo in Tampa, he has the time to develop properly in the system.