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Helenius Recalled to Norfolk

The Tampa Bay Lightning have reassigned goaltender Riku Helenius to the Admirals from their ECHL affiliate, the Augusta Lynx, Admirals General Manager Mike Butters announced on Sunday.

Helenius, a 6-foot-3, 202-pound goaltender from Palkane, Finland, appeared in two preseason games for the Admirals, going 1-1-0 with a 4.00 goals-against average and .840 save percentage. He did not play in a regular season game with Norfolk prior to being reassigned to Augusta on October 16.

The 20-year-old went 3-4-1 in his first eight games of North American professional hockey with the Lynx this season, posting a 4.41 goals-against average and .874 save percentage. He recorded his first pro win in his pro debut, stopping 44 of 46 shots on October 21 at Gwinnett.

Helenius was originally drafted in the first round (15th overall) by Tampa Bay in the 2006 NHL Entry Draft.

ECHL Game Night 11/30: Lynx at Checkers

The Lynx survived a 42 shot onslaught by the Charlotte Checkers snapping an 8 game losing streak by winning in a 2-1 shootout. Lightning goaltending prospect Riku Helenius did not dress for the Lynx after being recalled by Tampa to the Norfolk Admirals. Both Chris Lawrence and Kevin Quick failed to convert on their shootout attempts.

Checkers owner Michael Kahn has been linked as one of the possible investors to prop up the Lynx $300,000 budget shortfall.

Augusta 2 @ Charlotte 1 SO
D Kevin Quick: 0-0-0; E; 0 PIM; 1 SOG
F Chris Lawrence: 0-0-0; E; 2 PIM (boarding); 1 SOG

Augusta's record now stands at 6-10-1-2, and next play on Thursday night against the Mississippi Sea Wolves in Gulfport, MS.

ECHL Game Night 11/29: Checkers at Lynx

In a home game marred by reports of financial trouble by the 10-year old Augusta franchise, the visiting Charlotte Checkers were merciless defeating the Lynx 6-2 behind a 4 goal 2nd period. Chris Lawrence assisted on the Lynx third period goal. Riku Helenius backed up Mike Brodeur before being recalled to the Norfolk Admirals. This was 2nd straight game that the Lynx lost by a score of 6-2.

Charlotte 6 @ Augusta 2
G Riku Helenius: did not play
D Kevin Quick: 0-0-0; -1; 0 PIM; 5 SOG
F Chris Lawrence: 0-1-1; +1; 0 PIM; 0 SOG

Augusta falls to 5-10-1-1, and complete the home-and-home series with the Charlotte Checkers on Sunday.

AHL Game Day 11/30: Admirals at Bears

I would love it if someone in the organization figured out how to protect a third period lead.

NOR-2
HER-3

Mike McKenna allowed 3 goals on 33 shots for the loss.

First Period
HER Osala, (16) (Bouchard, Perreault), 3:01

Second Period
NOR Potulny, (2) (Bochenski), 4:11

Third Period
NOR Curadeau, (1) (Bochenski), 0:40
HER Giroux, (17) (Aucoin, McNeill), 10:15 (PP)
HER Joudrey, (2) (Bourque, Gordon), 17:50

Brandon Bochenski was named the game's second star.

Box score from TheAHL.com.

Lightning Trade Hutchinson for Tukonen

The Tampa Bay Lightning have announced that they have traded D Andrew Hutchinson to the Dallas Stars in exchange for prospect RW Lauri Tukonen.

Tukonen, who was selected 11th overall by Los Angeles in the 2004 NHL Entry Draft, floundered for three years as a pro in the Kings organization before returning to Finland where he has played for Lukko Rauma this season, amassing 5 goals and 13 points in 22 games this year. The 22 year old winger was once touted as an up-and-coming power forward type in the Olli Jokinen mold, but his lack of intensity saw him score just 14 goals and 36 points in 62 games in his career season in the AHL, his rookie professional year in 2005-2006.

Hutchinson's departure removes a one-way contract from the Lightning's ledger. The defenseman has had respectable numbers in the minors, with 1 goal and 14 points in 20 games, but the emergence of prospect Blair Jones as the right-handed triggerman on Norfolk's power play was likely the final straw that made Hutchinson expendable.

N.A. Juniors Game Night: 11/30

Game stars for Jung, Fadden, and Tyrell ... Tokarski's struggles continue.

NCAA Game Night: 11/29

Maine Black Bears 2 @ No.13 Vermont Catamounts 3 (Hockey East)
C/W Matt Marshall , UVM: Did not play.
Season totals: 10 GP, 1-1-2, +1, 4 PIM

NHL Game Night 11/29: Lightning at Avalanche

Lightning can't climb out of a three goal first period hole.

TB-3
COL-4

Olaf Kolzig allowed 3 goals on 10 shots before being pulled for Mike Smith who allowed 1 goal in 21 shots for the backdoor loss.

First Period
15:20 COL Leopold (4), (Svatos)(PP)
17:21 COL Wolski (3), (Svatos, Arnason)
18:57 COL Wolski (4), (Arnason, Svatos)

Second Period
12:17 TB Lecavalier (10), (Ranger, Malone)

Third Period
03:42 COL Jones (2), (McCormick, Clark)
09:19 TB Malone (7), (Eminger, Stamkos)(PP)
15:31 TB Stamkos (3), (Lecavalier, Eminger)(PP)

Obviously Ryan Malone and Steven Stamkos have started to come around in recent games, but keep an eye on Steve Eminger. The former high Capitals pick is finally starting to live up to his considerable offensive potential.

It may not come together in time to save this team's playoff ambitions, but we're starting to see some components of this team's future start to come together, both in Tampa and in Norfolk where there are a handful of players starting to get in line to make a move to the next level. Losses aside, I'm starting to get excited about some of the new foundation that is getting laid down.

Steve Downie had a fight and a blocked shot in 7:39.

Stamkos had 1 goal and 1 assist and was -1 with 2 shots and 1 hit in 21:42. He was also 50% on draws.

Box score and extended statistics from NHL.com.

AHL Game Night 11/29: Penguins at Admirals

You fear Matt Smaby.

WBS-3
NOR-4 (OT)

Karri Ramo allowed 3 goals on 23 shots before being pulled in favor of Mike McKenna who stopped 4 of 4 shots the rest of the way for the win.

First Period
NOR Konopka, (7) (Bochenski, Smaby), 4:33
WBS Letestu, (1) (Stone, Thomas), 7:52

Second Period
WBS Caputi, (4) (Richmond, Jeffrey), 8:33
WBS Mormina, (1) (Taffe, Minard), 15:14

Third Period
NOR Bochenski, (9) (Heward, Konopka), 1:29 (PP)
NOR Szczechura, (11) (Ward, Segal), 14:54

Overtime
NOR Smaby, (2) (Rogers, Segal), 2:13

Smaby and Brandon Bochenski were the game's first and second stars.

Kudos to Darren Rumble for shaming his team by pulling Ramo after the second period. Norfolk responded by outshooting the Penguins 22-4 the rest of the way and tallying three unanswered goals to finish their home stand at 2-1-0.

Matt Smaby has 2 goals and 3 points in his last two games, sandwiched with a Turkey Day trip home to Minnesota. You get the feeling he, like several of his Admirals prospect teammates, is starting to turn the corner and line up for a callup and a real shot at the NHL later this season.

Box score from TheAHL.com.

Smaby Reassigned to Norfolk

The Tampa Bay Lightning have reassigned defenseman Matt Smaby to the Admirals, it was announced today by Lightning Executive Vice President & General Manager Brian Lawton.

Smaby, a 6-5, 220-pound native of Minneapolis, Minnesota, was recalled on November 27 and served as a healthy scratch November 28 at Minnesota. He has skated in 17 games with Norfolk this season, recording a goal, two assists and 22 penalty minutes. The 24-year-old has appeared in 141 career AHL games with Norfolk and Springfield, tallying four goals, 21 assists and 131 penalty minutes.

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