Helenius, Riku

Kval till Elitserien Game Day: 4/3/11

Rogle 1 @ Sodertalje 2
Riku Helenius, Sodertalje, Win, 29/30, 1.00 GAA, .967 sv%
Season totals: 18 GP, 4-11-0, 0 SO, 3.03 GAA, .884 sv%
Kval till Eliserien totals: 3 GP, 1-0-1, 0 SO, 1.50 GAA, .943 sv%

Riku Helenius just won the biggest game of the season for Sodertalje. Sitting in 3rd place behind Rogle, Helenius made 29 saves to defeat the Allsvenskan side and keep Sodertalje afloat in their race to stay in the Elitserien next season. Ryan Lasch had both goals for Sodertalje.

However, MODO killed Mora 8-1 today, giving MODO the tiebreaker on goal differential at +10 to Sodertalje's +4. So, Vaxjo sits in first on the table at 20 points with MODO and Sodertalje trailing at 14 points a piece. Vaxjo has clinched a spot in the Elitserien next season because MODO and Sodertalje have a head-to-head game remaining. The top two teams go to Sweden's top league next season, so it looks like it's down to MODO, Sodertalje, and Rogle at 1 point back all fighting for 1 last spot. Sodertalje draws Mora and MODO in their remaining games. MODO gets Orebro and Sodertalje. Rogle has Vaxjo and Orebro left.

And, out of nowhere, it looks like Helenius, who backstopped Sodertalje through last year's Kval till Elitserien, will be in the thick of it at the very end this year. It might be Helenius' final games under a Lightning contract as a BoltProspect, but at least he's making it interesting.

Also, in the Elitserien playoffs, Farjestads and Skelleftea have advanced to the finals. They were the 2nd and 3rd place teams during the regular season.

Kval till Elitserien Game Day: 3/30/11

Sodertalje 1 @ Orebro 4
Riku Helenius, Sodertalje, DNP
Season totals: 18 GP, 4-11-0, 0 SO, 3.03 GAA, .884 sv%
Kval till Elitserien totals: 2 GP, 0-0-1, 0 SO, 3.00 GAA, .800 sv%

Sodertalje is in trouble. Orebro scored 3 unanswered 3rd period goals to defeat the Elitserien club 4-1 today in the 7th round of the Kval till Elitserien promotion/relegation tournament. With 3 games left to go, Sodertalje now sits in 3rd place, 2 points behind Allsvenskan side Rogle and 6 points behind another Allsvenskan side, Vaxjo. If the Kval till Elitserien ended today, Sodertalje would be relegated to the Allsvenskan. Complicating matters is Sodertalje's razor-thin tiebreaker lead over MODO, which is the other Elitserien club in the tournament. Sodertalje faces Rogle on Sunday in what is, essentially, a must-win for the club. A regulation loss for Sodertalje would make keeping their spot in Sweden's top league a near impossibility. It's hard to believe this is the same club that came within an eyelash of making the Elitserien playoffs just a few weeks ago.

Kval till Elitserien Game Day: 3/28/11

Vaxjo 5 @ Sodertalje 1
Riku Helenius, Sodertalje, ND, 4/5, 3.00 GAA, .800 sv%
Season totals: 18 GP, 4-11-0, 0 SO, 3.03 GAA, .884 sv%
Kval till Elitserien totals: 2 GP, 0-0-1, 0 SO, 3.00 GAA, .800 sv%

Riku Helenius spelled starter Pontus Sjogren after 40 minutes and allowed 1 goal the rest of the way in Sodertalje's 5-1 loss to Vaxjo. Ex-Lightning Traverse City camper Dustin Johner had 1 goal and 1 assist in the victory for Vaxjo. Sodertalje remains in second in the Kval till Elitserien with 11 points, 1 point ahead of MODO and Rogle. Vaxjo now holds a 4 point edge on Sodertalje in the standings. Sodertalje plays Orebro on Wednesday, and with 4 games left to go they are in peril of relegation.

Kval till Elitserien Game Day: 3/25/11

Sodertalje 2 @ Vaxjo 3 (SO)
Riku Helenius, Sodertalje, SOL, 0/0, 0.00 GAA, 1.000 sv%
Season totals: 18 GP, 4-11-0, 0 SO, 3.03 GAA, .884 sv%
Kval till Elitserien totals: 1 GP, 0-0-1, 0 SO, 0.00 GAA, 1.000 sv%

It's the sort of thing you don't see everyday: backup Riku Helenius spelled Pontus Sjogren in the shootout and allowed 2 of 4 shooters to convert in Sodertalje's 3-2 shootout loss to Vaxjo. Ex-Panthers draft pick Dustin Johner, who appeared for the Lightning during the Traverse City Prospects Tournament many years ago, had a pair of assists in the victory. Sodertalje forced overtime after Mathias Mansson scored with the goaltender pulled with just 56 seconds left in regulation. Vaxjo moves into the lead in the Kval till Elitserien at the halfway point of the schedule with 12 points in the standings. Sodertalje is 1 point back at 11 points and MODO is 2 points back at 10 points. MODO fell to Rogle 2-1 in a shootout today. Sodertalje will play Vaxjo again on Monday. 5 games remain in the Kval till Elitserien, and the top two teams will play in the Elitserien next season with the remaining teams going to the second tier Allsvenskan league.

Kval till Elitserien Game Day: 3/23/11

Orebro 2 @ Sodertalje 3 (OT)
Riku Helenius, Sodertalje, DNP
Season totals: 18 GP, 4-11-0, 0 SO, 3.03 GAA, .884 sv%
Kval till Elitserien totals: 0 GP, 0-0-0, 0 SO, 0.00 GAA, 1.000 sv%

Mattias Carlsson scored 1:23 into overtime to cap a 3-2 Sodertalje comeback victory over Allsvenskan club Orebro. Elsewhere, MODO defeated Vaxjo 1-0 in overtime, allowing Sodertalje to move into first place in the Kval till Elitserien by virtue of the goal differential tiebreak. Sodertalje and Vaxjo have 10 points in the standings while MODO sits at 9. Sodertalje draws Vaxjo on Friday.

European Game Day: 3/17/11

Kval till Elitserien
Mora 1 @ Sodertalje 6
Riku Helenius, Sodertalje, DNP
Season totals: 18 GP, 4-11-0, 0 SO, 3.03 GAA, .884 sv%
Kval till Elitserien totals: 0 GP, 0-0-0, 0 SO, 0.00 GAA, 1.000 sv%

Ex-St. Cloud State forward Ryan Lasch had 1 goal and 1 assist to lead Sodertalje to a 6-1 blunt force pounding of Mora in their second game of the Kval till Elitserien. Sodertalje now sits in 2nd on the Kval till Elitserien table, 1 point back of Allsvenskan team Vaxjo and 1 point ahead of fellow Elitserien team MODO. 8 games remain in the promotion/relegation season.

KHL Eastern Conference Semifinals
(2)Kazan 0 @ (3)Ufa 1
Ufa Wins the Series 4-1
Dmitri Kazionov, Kazan, 0-0-0, E, 0 PIM, 3 SOG
Season totals: 44 GP, 2-5-7, +5, 32 PIM
Playoff totals: 5 GP, 0-0-0, E, 4 PIM

Happy trails to defending Gagarin Cup champions Ak Bars Kazan. Ex-Kings goalie Erik Ersberg made 27 saves for a 1-0, Game Five shutout win for Ufa to seal the series win. Ex-Predators first rounder Alexander Radulov had Ufa's only goal. Dmitri Kazionov was scoreless in 13:36 in the match.

That brings to a conclusion the Lightning prospect season in Russia. Yaroslavl and Ufa have already clinched spots in their respective conferences, while St. Petersburg has a 3-2 series lead over Mytischi and former Lightning netminder Karri Ramo's Omsk club holds a 3-2 series lead over Magnitogorsk.

European Game Day: 3/14/11

Kval till Elitserien
Sodertalje 3 @ MODO 2(SO)
Riku Helenius, Sodertalje, DNP
Season totals: 18 GP, 4-11-0, 0 SO, 3.03 GAA, .884 sv%
Kval till Elitserien totals: 0 GP, 0-0-0, 0 SO, 0.00 GAA, 1.000 sv%

Julian Jacobsen scored a goal and had the shootout winner to lead Sodertalje to a 3-2 shootout win over MODO in the first game of the ten game promotion/relegation round. Sodertalje and 5 other clubs from the Elitserien and Allsvenskan will battle for two spots in the top league next year. Because its victory was not in regulation, Sodertalje only earned 2 points of a possible 3 for the win.

KHL Western Conference Semifinals
(7)Dynamo Riga 2 @ (1)Yaroslavl 6
Yaroslavl Leads the Series 3-1
Martins Karsums, Dynamo Riga, 0-0-0, +1, 0 PIM, 2 SOG
Season totals: 52 GP, 17-15-32, -3, 46 PIM
Playoff totals: 10 GP, 1-2-3, E, 8 PIM

The end may be near for Martins Karsums and Riga. The forward was scoreless in 13:11 in Riga's Game Four blowout loss to Yaroslavl. Ex-NHLers Karel Rachunek and Pavol Demitra each had 1 goal and 1 assist for Lokomotiv to help stake the club to a 3-1 series lead.

Elitserien Game Day: 3/5/11

Sodertalje 1 @ HV 71 2
Riku Helenius, Sodertalje, DNP
Season totals: 18 GP, 4-11-0, 0 SO, 3.03 GAA, .884 sv%

From the final day of the Elitserien regular season:

Needing a regulation win to avoid the relegation round and tied with HV 71 at 1-1, Sodertalje pulled Pontus Sjogren for the extra attacker with 1:18 left in regulation allowing Johan Davidson to score the game winning goal with 7 seconds left into an empty net. Sodertalje and MODO will go into the Kval till Elitserien promotion/relegation round. MODO fell 3-2 to AIK, which clinched the final spot in the Elitserien playoffs.

European Game Day: 3/3/11

Elitserien Regular Season
Sodertalje 5 @ Timra 3
Riku Helenius, Sodertalje, DNP
Season totals: 18 GP, 4-11-0, 0 SO, 3.03 GAA, .884 sv%

Ex-Avs pick Linus Videll had 1 goal and 3 assists to lead Sodertalje to a critical 5-3 win over Timra. With 1 game remaining in the regular season, Sodertalje now sits in 9th in the Elitserien, just 2 points back of AIK for the last playoff spot in the league. On the flip side, they hold a scant 1 point lead over MODO and Timra, who would be ticketed for the promotion/relegation round if the season ended now. 8th place AIK finishes their season against 11th place MODO, 10th place Frolunda draws 4th place Lulea, and 12th place Timra finishes against 6th place Djurgardens, so Sodertalje has the hardest draw of the final round of games on Saturday with 2nd place HV 71.

For Sodertalje to make the playoffs, AIK must lose in regulation to MODO, Sodertalje must defeat HV 71 in regulation, and Sodertalje's goal differential must be equal to or better than Frolunda's in the final game. Also, only a regulation win guarantees Sodertalje will not have to face the promotion/relegation round. They will lose any tiebreaker with MODO or Timra on goal differential.

KHL Western Conference Quarterfinals
(7)Dynamo Riga 2 @ (2)Dynamo Moscow 1 (OT)
Dynamo Riga Wins the Series 4-2
Martins Karsums, Dynamo Riga, 0-0-0, E, 0 PIM, 1 SOG
Season totals: 52 GP, 17-15-32, -3, 46 PIM
Playoff totals: 6 GP, 0-2-2, +1, 6 PIM

Janis Sprukts scored 15:01 into overtime to lead Dynamo Riga to a 2-1 Game Six victory over Dynamo Moscow and an upset 4-2 series win. Riga moves on and will play either Yaroslavl or Mytischi in the second round.

(5)Cherepovets 0 @ (4)Mytischi 1
Mytischi Wins the Series 4-2
Vasily Koshechkin, Cherepovets, Loss, 38/39, 1.00 GAA, .974 sv%
Season totals: 32 GP, 18-14-0, 2 SO, 2.92 GAA, .906 sv%
Playoff totals: 6 GP, 2-3-1, 0 SO, 2.20 GAA, .946 sv%

Vasya the Cat deserved better. The big netminder stopped 38 of 39 shots he faced, but a goal by ex-Jackets draft pick Sergei Mozyakin was all Mytischi needed to take down Cherepovets 1-0 in Game Six and secure a 4-2 series win. Koshechkin performed brilliantly despite facing an average of 37 shots per game in the series. His KHL contract expires this offseason and the rules of the CBA may be conducive to the Lightning signing the former 2002 8th rounder, but for now Koshechkin's next focus may be a potential World Championships spot with Team Russia.

European Game Day: 3/1/11

Elitserien Regular Season
Brynas 3 @ Sodertalje 2 (SO)
Riku Helenius, Sodertalje, DNP
Season totals: 18 GP, 4-11-0, 0 SO, 3.03 GAA, .884 sv%

If Sodertalje misses the postseason and/or has to enter this year's promotion/relegation round, they'll be kicking themselves over the missed opportunities of the last two games. One game removed from a disheartening overtime loss, Sodertalje coughed up a late lead against Brynas and fell in the shootout to lose a critical 2 points in the standings. Ottawa draft pick Jakub Silfverberg scored on a 2-man advantage with the goaltender pulled with 1:10 left in regulation to force overtime and was the only successful shooter in the shootout to lead Brynas to the win. Sodertalje now finds themselves 2 points out of the final playoff spot in the Elitserien and 1 point out of 10th, which is the last spot in the league that avoids the promotion/relegation round, with 2 regular season games remaining. However, due to their league-worst -33 goal differential, none of the tiebreak scenarios are in Sodertalje's favor right now. Their final 2 games are against Timra (9th) and HV 71 (3rd). Given their proximity in the standings, that game against Timra on Thursday is shaping up to be a must-win for Sodertalje.

KHL Western Conference Quarterfinals
(2)Dynamo Moscow 3 @ (7)Dynamo Riga 1
Dynamo Riga Leads the Series 3-2
Martins Karsums, Dynamo Riga, 0-0-0, E, 0 PIM, 1 SOG
Season totals: 52 GP, 17-15-32, -3, 46 PIM
Playoff totals: 5 GP, 0-2-2, +1, 6 PIM

Martins Karsums was scoreless in 18:21 in Riga's 3-1 Game Five loss to Dynamo Moscow. Moscow forces a Game Six with the victory. Riga will try again to close out the series on Thursday.

(4)Mytischi 2 @ (5)Cherepovets 1
Mytischi Leads the Series 3-2
Vasily Koshechkin, Cherepovets, Loss, 31/33, 2.04 GAA, .939 sv%
Season totals: 32 GP, 18-14-0, 2 SO, 2.92 GAA, .906 sv%
Playoff totals: 5 GP, 2-2-1, 0 SO, 2.47 GAA, .941 sv%

Ex-Lightning draft pick Fedor Fedorov had 1 goal and 1 assist and ex-NHLer Jan Bulis also scored to lead Mytischi to a critical Game Five win over Cherepovets, assuming a 3-2 series lead. The series will continue on Thursday with Vasily Koshechkin trying to help his team stave off elimination.

Elsewhere, Yaroslavl defeated Dynamo Minsk 2-1 in overtime to assume a 3-2 lead in the other active Western Conference playoff series. St. Petersburg is already through after a 4-0 sweep of Spartak Moscow.

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