Helenius, Riku

Elitserien Game Day: 9/18/10

Sodertalje 2 @ Farjestads 3
Riku Helenius, Sodertalje, Loss, 21/24, 3.06 GAA, .875 sv%
Season totals: 2 GP, 0-2-0, 0 SO, 3.08 GAA, .829 sv%

Riku Helenius and Sodertalje blew a third period lead to fall 3-2 to Farjestads. Ex-Avs draft pick Linus Videll had a goal in the match for Sodertalje.

Elitserien Game Day: 9/16/10

Sodertalje 3 @ Lulea 1
Riku Helenius, Sodertalje, Loss, 8/11, 3.09 GAA, .727 sv%
Season totals: 1 GP, 0-1-0, 0 SO, 3.09 GAA, .727 sv%

Ex-NHLer Janne Niinimaa had a goal and an assist to lead Lulea to a 3-1 win over Sodertalje in their Elitserien opener. Lightning prospect goaltender Riku Helenius stopped 8 of the 11 shots he faced for the loss. Sodertalje outshot Lulea 16-11 in the defensive struggle.

Helenius to Stay With Sodertalje Next Season

Hockey Expressen is reporting that the agent of Lightning goaltending prospect Riku Helenius, Jay Grossman, has announced the Finnish born former first round pick will play for Sodertalje in the Swedish Elitserien again next season. Helenius joined Sodertalje late last season and backstopped the club to a first place finish in the Kval till Elitserien, the annual promotion/relegation tournament. The move may be a positive for Helenius' development, as he is expected to be Sodertalje's starter next year and the Lightning already have a glut of Norfolk-bound goaltenders with Dustin Tokarski and Jaroslav Janus in the fold. Having Helenius in Sodertalje allows the Lightning the luxury of having him develop with plenty of starts in a premiere European league. Helenius is entering the final year of his entry-level deal with the Lightning.

European Game Day: 4-11-10

Kval till Elitserien (Sweden)
Rogle 3 @ Sodertalje 2 (SO)
Riku Helenius, Sodertalje, DNP
Season totals: 9 GP, 4-2-2, 0 SO, 2.42 GAA, .923 sv%
Playoff totals: 9 GP, 6-3-0, 1 SO, 2.74 GAA, .911 sv%

With Sodertalje's spot in the Elitserien sewed up for next season, Riku Helenius got today off in the 10th and final match of the promotion/relegation series. Helenius' backup, Pontus Sjogren, stopped 42 shots before allowed 3 of 6 shooters to capitalize in the shootout for the loss. Helenius' roller coaster season is over, and he and the Lightning will now contemplate a way forward for the former first round draft pick who played very well at times, and very poorly at other junctures.

Sodertalje finished first in the Kval till Elitserien with 21 points, 3 ahead of Allsvenskan side AIK, which defeated Vaxjo Lakers 2-0 today to grab a promotion into the Elitserien for next season. It's a remarkable accomplishment for a team that just a few months ago was contemplating a move into the KHL. They finished 2 points ahead of Rogle, which will be relegated to the Allsvenskan next season.

KHL (Russia) Western Conference Finals
No Lightning prospects were involved, but in Game Seven KHK MVD defeated Yaroslavl 2-1. Ex-Thrashers prospect Michael Garnett stopped 25 of 26 shots he faced in the win. He'll face Ak Bars Kazan and Lightning prospect Dmitri Kazionov in the KHL Gagarin Cup Finals, which begin on Thursday in Kazan.

European Game Day: 4-8-10

KHL (Russia) Eastern Conference Finals
(1)Yulaev 2 @ (3)Kazan 1
Kazan Leads the Series 3-2
Dmitri Kazionov, Kazan, 0-0-0, E, 0 PIM, 0 SOG
Season totals: 52 GP, 18-9-27, +8, 18 PIM
Playoff totals: 14 GP, 3-1-4, +3, 8 PIM

Things are getting interesting in the KHL Eastern Conference Finals. After sprinting out to a 3-0 series lead, Kazan has allowed top seeded Yulaev back into the series with 2 straight wins. Today, Yulaev got 1 goal and 1 assist in the third period from ex-Predator Alexander Radulov in a come-from-behind Game Five victory. Lightning prospect Dmitri Kazionov played 20:40 in the match and has been playing on Kazan's top line for much of the playoffs.

In the Western Conference Finals, Yaroslavl leads KHK MVD 3 games to 2. Kazan will try to finish off the Eastern Conference Finals again on Saturday.

Kval till Elitserien (Sweden)
Sodertalje 1 @ AIK 2 (OT)
Riku Helenius, Sodertalje, Loss, 35/37, 1.99 GAA, .946 sv%
Season totals: 9 GP, 4-2-2, 0 SO, 2.42 GAA, .923 sv%
Playoff totals: 9 GP, 6-3-0, 1 SO, 2.74 GAA, .911 sv%

AIK forward Richard Gynge scored a game winning power play goal for AIK just 17 seconds in overtime to defeat Riku Helenius and Sodertalje. For Helenius, it was his 3rd defeat in his past 4 starts after beginning the promotion/relegation tournament with 5 straight victories. Sodertalje's offense has been hamstrung without ex-Avs draft pick Linus Videll, who has not played in Sodertalje's past three games.

Despite the loss, Sodertalje has secured its spot in the Elitserien for next season with AIK earning just 1 point in the standings for the victory and Leksands and Rogle also losing. The more intriguing situation is occuring in the battle for 2nd place on the Kval till Elitserien table, which will yield the final Elitserien spot for next season. AIK holds 1 point lead now over Rogle and a 2 point lead over Leksands and Almtuna with just 1 game left to go and each regulation victory in Sweden being worth 3 points. As an interesting subplot, AIK, which has been on the brink of financial ruin the past few seasons despite being based in the population center of Stockholm, signed a letter-of-intent earlier this season to join the KHL next year but was denied the right to join the Russian league by the Swedish ice hockey federation. Now the team, which has been toiling in the Allsvenskan for the past few seasons, controls its own destiny and is one game away from joining Sweden's top league.

The Kval till Elitserien closes on Sunday with Sodertalje playing Rogle, AIK playing Vaxjo, and Leksands squaring off with Almtuna.

European Game Day: 4-6-10

KHL (Russia) Eastern Conference Finals
(3)Kazan 2 @ (1)Yulaev 4
Kazan Leads the Series 3-1
Dmitri Kazionov, Kazan, 0-0-0, -3, 0 PIM, 1 SOG
Season totals: 52 GP, 18-9-27, +8, 18 PIM
Playoff totals: 13 GP, 3-1-4, +3, 8 PIM

Top seeded Yulaev staved off a sweep in Game Four of the KHL Eastern Conference Finals, defeating Kazan 4-2. Ex-Predator Alexander Radulov scored a pair of goals in the match for Yulaev. Ex-Lightning first rounder Nikita Alexeev was kicked out of the match for Kazan in a late second period brawl with ex-Leafs draft pick Vladimir Antipov of Yulaev. Current Lightning prospect Dmitri Kazionov played 16:56 in the match.

Kazan will try again to finish off Yulaev in a match at home on Thursday.

Kval till Elitserien (Sweden)
Leksands 3 @ Sodertalje 2 (OT)
Riku Helenius, Sodertalje, Loss, 44/47, 2.88 GAA, .936 sv%
Season totals: 9 GP, 4-2-2, 0 SO, 2.42 GAA, .923 sv%
Playoff totals: 8 GP, 6-2-0, 1 SO, 2.83 GAA, .905 sv%

Despite making 44 saves, Riku Helenius was handed his second loss of the Kval till Elitserien series in a 3-2 overtime loss to a Leksands club desperate to grab the final spot in the Elitserien for next season. Phoenix first rounder Oliver Ekman-Larsson scored a goal in the match for Leksands. With their win, the Allsvenskan side moved to within 1 point of 2nd place Rogle in the standings, with the top two teams in the series earning a spot in the Elitserien for next season. They are tied with fellow Alsvenskan side AIK, which defeated Rogle 5-4 in regulation today.

Sodertalje, for its part, remains in first place in the series with a 6 point lead on 3rd place Leksands and a solid +8 goal differential, making the team all but a lock to make the Elitserien next season with 2 games remaining in this year's promotion/relegation series. Sodertalje will face AIK next on Thursday.

Kval till Elitserien Game Day: 4-4-10

Kval till Elitserien
Sodertalje 4 @ Almtuna 3 (OT)
Riku Helenius, Sodertalje, Win, 23/26, 2.83 GAA, .885 sv%
Season totals: 9 GP, 4-2-2, 0 SO, 2.42 GAA, .923 sv%
Playoff totals: 7 GP, 6-1-0, 1 SO, 2.82 GAA, .898 sv%

Former Oilers draft pick Jonas Almtorp scored an overtime game winning goal to help lead Sodeertalje over Allsvenskan side Almtuna in their seventh game of the promotion/relegation series. Despite only losing a single game in the entire Kval till Elitserien, Lightning prospect Riku Helenius has seen his save percentage dip below .900 after a pair of subpar starts.

Sodertalje improved its overall record to 6-1-0, and holds a 7 point lead over 3rd place Leksands with 3 games remaining. The top two teams in the series will earn spots in the Elitserien, Sweden's top division, and wins is Sweden count for 3 points each. So, Sodertalje can clinch its spot in the top division with 1 more victory. Sodertalje faces Leksands on Tuesday.

European Game Day: 4-2-10

KHL (Russia) Playoff Game Day
Eastern Conference Finals
(1)Yulaev 3 @ (3)Kazan 4
Kazan Leads the Series 1-0
Dmitri Kazionov, Kazan, 2-0-2, +1, 0 PIM, 3 SOG
Season totals: 52 GP, 18-9-27, +8, 18 PIM
Playoff totals: 10 GP, 3-1-4, +5, 6 PIM

Lightning prospect Dmitri Kazionov picked a heck of a time to have a breakout game. Kazionov had a pair of goals today, each assisted by former NHLer Niko Kapanen, to help Kazan knock off top seed Yulaev in Game One of their KHL Eastern Conference Finals series. The 2002 4th round pick played 18:23 in the match.

In the Western Conference Finals series, KHK MVD and Yaroslavl are tied 1-1 after trading overtime wins over the past couple of days. Game Two between Kazan and Yulaev is slated for tomorrow.

Kval till Elitserien (Sweden)
Vaxjo 7 @ Sodertalje 6 (OT)
Riku Helenius, Sodetalje, Loss, 28/35, 6.83 GAA, .800 sv%
Season totals: 9 GP, 4-2-2, 0 SO, 2.42 GAA, .923 sv%
Kval till Elitserien totals: 7 GP, 5-1-0, 1 SO, 2.82 GAA, .900 sv%

All good things come to an end, and Riku Helenius' personal 7 game winning streak that extended back into the Elitserien regular season was spoiled spectacularly today in a 7-6 overtime loss to Allsvenskan side Vaxjo. Sodertalje still sits in first on the promotion/relegation series table.

Kval till Elitserien Game Day: 3-29-10

Kval till Elitserien
Sodertalje 7 @ Vaxjo 4
Riku Helenius, Sodertalje, Win, 29/33, 4.00 GAA, .879 sv%
Season totals: 9 GP, 4-2-2, 0 SO, 2.42 GAA, .923 sv%
Playoff totals: 5 GP, 5-0-0, 1 SO, 2.00 GAA, .926 sv%

At the halfway point of Sweden's promotion/relegation series, Riku Helenius remains an undefeated 5-0-0 despite allowing 4 goals today to Vaxjo Lakers. Helenius has a 7 game personal winning streak extending all the way back into the Elitserien regular season. His last loss was on March 4th against Frolunda and former Lightning netminder and Bolt Prospects alumni Johan Holmqvist. Ex-Avs draft pick Linus Videll led the scoring for Sodertalje with 2 goals and 3 assists in the match.

Sodertalje's next game is on Friday in a rematch against Vaxjo. The club is in first place on the Kval till Elitserien table with an 8 point lead on 3rd place AIK. The top two teams earn their spot in the Elitserien for next season, and wins in Sweden count for 3 points in the standings.

Kval till Elitserien Game Day: 3-27-10

Kval till Elitserien
Almtuna 1 @ Sodertalje 3
Riku Helenius, Sodertalje, Win, 22/23, 1.00 GAA, .957 sv%
Season totals: 9 GP, 4-2-2, 0 SO, 2.42 GAA, .923 sv%
Kval till Elitserien totals: 4 GP, 4-0-0, 1 SO, 1.50 GAA, .941 sv%

Things continue to run as smooth as silk for Sodertalje in Sweden's promotion/relegation tournament. The club got a pair of goals today from defenseman and ex-Panthers draft pick Topi Jaakola en route to a 3-1 win over Allsvenskan side Almtuna. Sodertalje leads the series by five points over the other Elitserien team in the series, Rogle, and by six points over the third place side, Leksands. The top two teams in the six game series with the most points after the ten game series is complete will earn their spots in the Elitserien next season. So, with another couple of wins, Helenius and Sodertalje should be close to clinching. As a reminder: wins count for three points in the standings in Sweden.

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