Goaltender Riku Helenius (pictured biting his SM-Liiga championship medal) has won Finland's coveted Urpo Ylonen Award as the SM-liiga's top goaltender. He was also named to the all-league team along with JYP teammate and ex-Lightning forward Eric Perrin. The good news was announced on May 5th.
Helenius stormed through the Finnish regular season with a dominant 1.64 GAA and .936 save percentage before having an even better playoffs, only losing 2 games en route to leading JYP to the SM-liiga title. The Lightning are rumored to have interest in re-signing Helenius if Finland and the NHL agree to a new IIHF Transfer Agreement and Helenius also has reportedly received significant interest from KHL team Mytischi. Helenius was also a finalist for SM-liiga rookie of the year, but that award was given to Tuevo Teravainen of Jokerit, who is expected to be a first round pick in the June draft.
Notable past winners of the Urpo Ylonen include:
Niklas Backstrom (2003-2004, 2004-2005)
Karri Lehtonen (2001-2002, 2002-2003)
Miikka Kiprusoff (1998-1999)
Tim Thomas (1997-1998)
AHL Eastern Conference Champions.
Norfolk Wins the Series 4-0
Dustin Tokarski turned away all 28 shots he faced for his second consecutive shutout. When you go 4-0 in the Eastern Conference Finals with a GAA that is sub 0.50, that's pretty good. Norfolk played great defense in front of Tic, but when stops needed to be made he was in position to make the routine look routine. Heading into the Calder Cup Finals, he's 7-2-0 with 2 shutouts, a 1.65 GAA, and a .939 save percentage. Even Riku Helenius is envious of those numbers.
NOR Oberg, (2) (Picard, Angelidis), 15:15
NOR Johnson, (3) (Palat, Barberio), 17:47 (PP)
NOR Smith, (4) (Labrie, Aulie), 1:41
NOR Segal, (3) (Johnson), 9:28 (PP)
Norfolk put its killer instinct on full display tonight, outshooting St. John's 18-7 in the First Period en route to the 2-0 lead at the first intermission. Nothing against Newfoundland, but the Ads clearly had no intention of sticking around for a Game Five on Saturday.
Tokarski and Trevor Smith were the game's first and second stars.
And now, as the great Tom Petty said, the waiting is the hardest part. With Toronto leading the Western Conference Finals 2-1, the earliest that series could be over is Game Five on Friday. Ideally, that series would go the distance, ending next week on Wednesday in Oklahoma City, meaning the winner would have to fly halfway across the country to play a well rested, healthy, hungry Admirals team. Whenever the Finals start know this: banners are nice, and the Admirals have already won two of them, but this sport is played for Cups. Period. They've come too far on this odyssey to settle for the silver medal. I've said it over and over this season, and every time they've answered the bell. Admirals: finish the drill.
Box score from TheAHL.com.
Finnish sports website Keskisuomalainen is reporting that former Lightning first round pick Riku Helenius is attracting attention from the Lightning as well as multiple KHL clubs, including Amur Khabarovsk, all of which are vying for his services next season. News about Helenius, who won the SM-liiga championship and was one of Finland's best goaltenders last year, broke in the magazine Veikkaaja, which has been cited by several other websites claiming Helenius' asking price was a 1-way deal. Helenius, who stands at 6'3" and 198 lbs, had a 1.64 GAA and .936 save percentage in the regular season for JYP, which he followed with a 1.73 GAA and .947 save percentage in the playoffs.
This season Bolt Prospects introduced our Prospect of the Week award, an honor (virtually) given to one Tampa Bay Lightning prospect for their on-ice contributions.
We wanted to highlight prospects throughout the year to help fans get better acquainted with the next round of Lightning stars while recognizing the prospectâ€™s achievement on the ice.
This weekâ€™s BP Prospect of the Week award goes to â€¦ Riku Helenius, G, JYP (SM-liiga, Finland).
The 2011-2012 season ended for Helenius this week â€“ in the best way possible. The Lightningâ€™s first round pick (15th overall) in 2006 completed arguably the greatest comeback season in Bolt Prospects history when he not only led the SM-liiga in nearly every major goaltending category in the regular season, but guided JYP to the league championship in the playoffs.
SM-liiga Finals (Finland):
(2)Pelicans Lahti 1 @ (4)JYP 2 (OT)
JYP Wins the Series 4-1
JYP Wins the SM-liiga Championship
Riku Helenius, JYP, Win, 45/46, 0.90 GAA, .978 sv%
Playoff totals: 13 GP, 11-2-0, 0 SO, 1.73 GAA, .947 sv%
Regular season totals: 33 GP, 21-9-1, 7 SO, 1.64 GAA, .936 sv%
Completing arguably the greatest season of redemption in Bolt Prospects history, Lightning prospect Riku Helenius turned away 45 shots to help lead JYP to a 2-1 overtime Game Five win. The victory clinched the series and the SM-liiga championship for JYP. Former Lightning forward Eric Perrin (shown celebrating like a wild man) scored the overtime winner at 6:58 of overtime and assisted on JYP's other goal in the victory.
Helenius, the former Lightning first rounder, goes from being a tandem starter on a Sodertalje club in the Swedish Elitserien that had to fight off relegation last year to backstopping the best club in the Finnish Elitserien.
MHL Championship (Russia Jr.):
Nikita Gusev had 1 goal and 1 assist as CSKA Jr. cut Omsk Jr.'s series lead in half in their 3-1 Game Three win over Omsk Jr. Nikita Kucherov did not appear in the match. Game Four is Tuesday.