The Seattle Thunderbirds have confirmed goaltender and Lightning prospect Riku Helenius has been named to the Finnish World Junior team that will take part in the 2008 IIHF World Junior Championship in Pardubice and Liberec, Czech Republic, from December 26 to January 5.
"We are very happy for Riku that he has been selected to play for Team Finland," said T-Birds General Manager Russ Farwell. "He has established himself as a top goalie in our league and we expect him to be a key member of Team Finland."
Helenius left December 10 for the Team Finland World Junior Evaluation Camp. He is now with the Finnish team as they prepare for the tournament. He has an 8-7-5-0 record with the T-Birds this season and a goals against average of 2.61, a save percentage of .911, and one shutout.
Helenius, who will be the only Lightning draftee at this year's WJCs, was selected by the Tampa Bay Lightning in the first round, 15th overall, of the 2006 NHL Entry Draft.
Sweden finished 0-3 in the Channel One Cup on the Euro Tour yesterday. Lightning prospect Johan Harju appeared in the tournament for the Swedes posting an assist and 6 penalty minutes largely in fourth line duty. Russia finished atop the tournament table at 3-0 led by former Lightning prospect Fedor Fedorov.
North American junior game results from Saturday and Sunday:
According to Kevin Allenspach of the St. Cloud Times, Lightning prospect Luca Cunti has informed the team he is going to leave school after waiting for clearance to play for the entire Fall semester of school. Cunti will now likely join Chicago of the USHL before weighing his other options which may include returning to SCSU next Fall, but early indications are that scenario is unlikely.
Bolt Prospects would like to thank the NCAA Clearing House for wasting half a year of one of the Lightning's prized prospects' time and for denying him the opportunity to develop in a situation that would've been ideal for his growth as a player.