Ramo Carries Pelicans A Into Playoffs
February had been a tough month for Karri Ramo. Despite his solid performance at the Five Nations U-19 tournament for Finland, playing behind the worst team in the SM-liiga finally began to take its toll. For the entire month of January the 18 year old netminder from Asikkala gave the pittiful Pelicans a chance to win every night out. But as the days of February began to wane, so too did Karri Ramo's stats. By the end, Ramo had slipped to 27th in the league in save percentage posting a .898 mark with a 3.98 GAA.
Meanwhile down in Junior A a death struggle for playoff position was on as Tapparra A, Pelicans A, Jokerit A and Lukko A all battled to claim the final two spots on the table and the right to move on to the Junior A postseason. With Lahti's SM-liiga season long since doomed and Ramo's confidence fading, the Pelicans decided to send their prized young goaltender back to junior to save the junior team's sagging playoff fortunes.
Ramo did not disappoint.
Today Karri Ramo capped a goaltending tour de force for Pelicans A defeating 3rd place HIFK A 3-0 to clinch the 7th playoff spot in Finnish Jr. A. Ramo stopped a mind boggling 47 of 47 shots faced to earn the honor of being the game's first star carrying the Pelicans over the threshold and into the postseason. What made the performance all the more impressive is the fact that the Pelicans were outshot a staggering 47-12 in the victory. Where most goaltenders would've wilted under the barrage of the near 4:1 shot disparity though, Ramo rose triumphantly to the occassion.
As a result of his heroics, the 7th place Pelicans A will now play 2nd seed TPS A in the first round of the playoffs beginning March 4th. Ramo, finished the Jr. A regular season first in save percentage with a gaudy .945 sv% and first in GAA with a 1.70 goals against average. If the past couple of weeks are any indication though, Ramo should be able to handle the pressure of carrying his undermanned Lahti Junior A squad into battle against the second ranked seed in the league.
After dropping his first game back in the juniors 5-1 to lowly KalPa A Ramo embarked on a rampage through the final weeks of the season to assure the Pelicans would have a shot at post season glory. On February 23rd Ramo shutout Assat A 7-0 stopping 25 of 25 shots at home for the win. Ramo followed that performance by beating Blues A 2-0 stopping 18 of 18 shots en route to being named the game's second star on February 26th. And finally, today, Ramo finished the hat trick of shutouts in his win over HIFK extending his shutout streak to 182 minutes and 45 seconds without surrendering a single tally. The win allowed Pelicans A to edge Jokerit's junior team by a scant 4 points and tie Tapparra A to claim 7th on the Junior A table by a tiebreaker.
In other words, when the chips were down and the playoffs were on the line, Ramo threw a remarkable three straight shutouts to seal the deal. If there were any fears about Ramo after his performance in February at the SM-liiga, he surely allayed them by carrying his team into the postseason in juniors. No doubt Ramo proved once again today to the Lightning's European scouts that he is indeed the genuine article. And TPS A: you're next.