Helenius, Riku

European Game Day: 9-29-11

SM-liiga (Finland):
JYP 2 @ Assat 5
Riku Helenius, JYP, DNP
Season totals: 3 GP, 0-3-0, 0 SO, 3.10 GAA, .888 sv%

Riku Helenius did not play in last place JYP's 5-2 loss to Assat. Former Lightning prospect Radek Smolenak had a pair of goals for Assat in the win and is now second in the SM-liiga in goals and tops in the Finnish league in goals with 5.

Elitserien (Sweden):
Lulea 1 @ AIK 0
Johan Harju, Lulea, 1-0-1, E, 0 PIM
Season totals: 6 GP, 4-2-6, +2, 0 PIM

Johan Harju's power play tally was all Lulea needed to knock off AIK 1-0. Harju is now tied for 8th in the league in scoring and tied for tops in goals. Lulea faces Timra on Saturday.

European Game Day: 9-26-11 and 9-27-11

9/26
KHL (Russia):
Hanty-Mansiysk 2 @ Cherepovets 4
Vasily Koshechkin, Cherepovets, Win, 29/31, 2.00 GAA, .935 sv%
Season totals: 4 GP, 3-1-0, 0 SO, 2.51 GAA, .924 sv%

Vadim Shipachev had a hat trick to lead Cherepovets to a 4-2 win over Yugra.

9/27
SM-liiga (Finland):
Lukko 4 @ JYP 1
Riku Helenius, JYP, Loss, 24/27, 3.09 GAA, .889 sv%
Season totals: 3 GP, 0-3-0, 0 SO, 3.10 GAA, .888 sv%

Ex-NHL first rounder Kris Beech had a goal in Lukko's 4-1 win over JYP. Riku Helenius and JYP are now languishing in last place on the SM-liiga table. JYP faces Assat on Thursday.

MHL (Russia Jr.)
Chelyabinsk Jr. 3 @ Ufa Jr. 1
Nikita Nesterov, Chelyabinsk Jr., 0-0-0, +1, 0 PIM, 2 SOG
Season totals: 9 GP, 4-4-8, +11, 10 PIM

Nikita Nesterov's mini-cold streak continues, from an offensive standpoint, but he got back on the plus side of the ledger in Chelyabinsk Jr.'s 3-1 victory over Ufa Jr. Chelyabinsk Jr. gets Togliatti's junior team on Friday.

Elitserien (Sweden)
Farjestads 0 @ Lulea 2
Johan Harju, Lulea, 0-0-0, +1, 0 PIM, 3 SOG
Season totals: 5 GP, 3-2-5, +2, 0 PIM

Minnesota Wild draft pick Johan Gustafsson had an 18 save shutout in Lulea's 2-0 win over Farjestads. Lulea faces AIK on Thursday.

European Game Day: 9-24-11

All Scandinavian up in your area:

SM-liiga (Finland):
Blues 1 @ JYP 0
Riku Helenius, DNP
Season totals: 2 GP, 0-2-0, 0 SO, 3.10 GAA, .887 sv%

Talaja Roope's first period marker was the only scoring in Espoo's 1-0 win over JYP. JYP draws Lukko next on Tuesday.

Elitserien (Sweden)
Lulea 2 @ HV 71 3 (SO)
Johan Harju, Lulea, 1-1-2, +1, 0 PIM, 2 SOG
Season totals: 4 GP, 3-2-5, +2, 0 PIM

Johan Harju had 1 goal and 1 assist, but failed on his shootout opportunity in Lulea's 3-2 loss to HV 71. After taking a couple of games to get going again in his return to the Elitserien, Harju now moves above a point a game. Lulea will play Farjestads on Tuesday.

European Game Day: 9-23-11

SM-liiga (Finland):
JYP 1 @ Pelicans 3
Riku Helenius, JYP, Loss, 27/30, 3.09 GAA, .900 sv%
Season totals: 2 GP, 0-2-0, 0 SO, 3.10 GAA, .887 sv%

The good news is Riku Helenius has started the season in a tandem situation for JYP in the SM-liiga. The bad news is he's still looking for his first win after falling 3-1 to Lahti today. Ex-Lightning player Eric Perrin had a helper on JYP's only goal. JYP faces Blues Espoo tomorrow.

KHL (Russia):
CSKA 3 @ Poprad 2
Nikita Kucherov, CSKA, 0-0-0, E, 0 PIM, 1 SOG
Season totals: 5 GP, 0-0-0, -2, 2 PIM

CSKA overcame a goal by ex-NHLer Ladislav Nagy to defeat Slovakian-based Poprad 3-2. Nikita Kucherov played 8:11 in the match. Ex-Lightning prospect Vladimir Mihalik was -1 in 17:24 on the blueline for Poprad. CSKA faces Dynamo Riga on Sunday.

MHL (Russia Jr.)
Chelyabinsk Jr. 7 @ Nizhnekamsk Jr. 3
Nikita Nesterov, Chelyabinsk Jr., 0-0-0, +2, 0 PIM, 1 SOG
Season totals: 7 GP, 4-3-7, +12, 10 PIM

Nikita Nesterov may be cooling off offensively, after back-to-back scoreless games, but he did run his +/- to +12 in Chelyabinsk Jr.'s 7-3 shellacking of Nizhnekamsk Jr. Chelyabinsk Jr. draws Orenburg on Sunday.

SM-liiga Game Day: 9-21-11

JYP 2 @ Blues 1 (SO)
Riku Helenius, JYP, DNP
Season totals: 1 GP, 0-1-0, 0 SO, 3.12 GAA, .870 sv%

Riku Helenius sat backup in JYP's 2-1 shootout win over Blues Espoo. JYP faces Pelicans Lahti next on Friday.

European Game Day: 9-17-11

SM-liiga (Finland)
Karpat 3 @ JYP 2
Riku Helenius, Loss, 20/23, 3.12 GAA, .870 sv%
Season totals: 1 GP, 0-1-0, 0 SO, 3.12 GAA, .870 sv%

Riku Helenius and JYP allowed a pair of third period goals to squander a 2-1 lead after 40 minutes in their 3-2 loss to Karpat. Ex-Lightning forward Eric Perrin had a helper in the match for JYP. JYP's next game is on Wednesday against Blues Espoo.

KHL (Russia)
St. Petersburg 4 @ CSKA 1
Nikita Kucherov, CSKA, 0-0-0, E, 0 PIM, 2 SOG
Season totals: 3 GP, 0-0-0, E, 2 PIM

Ex-Lightning forward Evgeny Artyukhin had a goal and ex-Lightning draft pick Fedor Fedorov had an assist is St. Petersburg's 4-1 thumping of CSKA. Lightning prospect Nikita Kucherov played 11:31 in the loss for CSKA. CSKA faces Dynamo Riga on Monday.

Elitserien (Sweden)
Lulea 1 @ Frolunda 2
Johan Harju, Lulea, 1-0-1, E, 0 PIM, 2 SOG
Season totals: 2 GP, 1-0-1, E, 0 PIM

Johan Harju scored the game opening goal off assists from Niklas Olausson and ex-Stars second rounder Johan Fransson, but Lulea fell 2-1 to Frolunda. Lulea faces Djurgardens next on Thursday.

European Game Day: 9-15-11

SM-liiga (Finland)
JYP 0 @ KalPa 2
Riku Helenius, JYP, DNP
Season totals: 0 GP, 0-0-0, 0 SO, 0.00 GAA. 1.000 sv%

Riku Helenius sat backup today in JYP's 2-0 opening loss to KalPa. Former Devils prospect Ari Ahonen had a 23 save shutout in the match and former NHLer Sami Kapanen scored one of KalPa's goals. JYP's next match is Saturday versus Karpat.

Elitserien (Sweden)
Vaxjo 3 @ Lulea 2 (SO)
Johan Harju, Lulea, 0-0-0, E, 0 PIM, 4 SOG
Season totals: 1 GP, 0-0-0, E, 0 PIM

Vaxjo Lakers scored a pair of third period goals to erase a 2-0 deficit and went on to win in a shootout 3-2 over Lulea. Johan Harju was scoreless in the match, with 4 shots on goal, and he was denied by former NHLer Martin Gerber in his shootout attempt. He started on Lulea's second line along side center Niklas Olausson and left winger Mattias Persson. Vaxjo's goals came from former Oilers prospect Liam Reddox and former Sharks prospect Mike Iggulden. Lulea moves on to face Frolunda on Saturday.

Prospect Season Starts Next Week

With the passing of August, the summer is on its decline, and hockey season is almost here in North America. But, in Europe, preseason games are already being played and the regular season is set to begin next week. On Thursday, slick scoring prospect Nikita Kucherov and CSKA will square off against perennial league power Magnitogorsk in their season opener in the Russian KHL. A week later, on 9/15, action starts in the Finnish SM-liiga where Riku Helenius and JYP will open against KalPa. That day also marks the start of the Swedish Elitserien where Johan Harju and Lulea will face Vaxjo.

Kval till Elitserien Game Day: 4/8/11

MODO 2 @ Sodertalje 0
Riku Helenius, Sodertalje, 24/26, 2.11 GAA, .923 sv%
Season totals: 18 GP, 4-11-0, 0 SO, 3.03 GAA, .884 sv%
Kval till Elitserien totals: 5 GP, 2-1-1, 0 SO, 1.83 GAA, .925 sv%

Former Northern Michigan netminder Tuomas Tarkki made 22 saves to lead MODO to a 2-0 shutout of Sodertalje and a spot in the Elitserien next year. Lightning prospect netminder Riku Helenius made 24 stops, but in the absence of goal support Sodertalje's fate was sealed. The club will be relegated to the Allsvenskan next year. Vaxjo moves up to the Elitserien while MODO, barely, retains their spot in Sweden's top league.

So ends the entry level contract of former first round pick Helenius. The netminder was loaned out to Sodertalje toward the end of last season with the emergence of Jaroslav Janus and he played well in earning Sodertalje's starting job in last year's Kval till Elitserien tournament. This year, however, Helenius' play tanked in the first month of the Elitserien regular season. He lost his starting job to young Pontus Sjogren and did not regain it until the final 3 games of the the Kval till Elitserien round, which may be too little, too late to earn a qualifying offer from the Lightning.

Kval till Elitserien Game Day: 4/6/11

Sodertalje 3 @ Mora 2
Riku Helenius, Sodertalje, Win, 17/19, 2.00 GAA, .895 sv%
Season totals: 18 GP, 4-11-0, 0 SO, 3.03 GAA, .884 sv%
Kval till Elitserien totals: 4 GP, 2-0-1, 0 SO, 1.72 GAA, .926 sv%

Sodertalje peppered Mora with a whopping 47 shots on goal en route to edging Mora 3-2 in their 9th game of the Kval till Elitserien. Lightning prospect Riku Helenius made 17 saves to win his second straight must-win start. Elsewhere, Vaxjo defeated Rogle 4-2 and MODO beat Orebro 4-1.

Vaxjo had already clinched a spot in the Elitserien for next season. With their loss, Rogle will stay in the Allsvenskan. That leaves MODO and Sodertalje tied at 17 points right now with MODO holding the goal differential tiebreaker at +13 to +5. That means Friday's 10th and final round of the Kval till Elitserien will feature an all out battle for all the marbles with MODO visiting Sodertalje. A win keeps the club in the Elitserien next year. A loss means relegation to the Allsvenskan. Time to find out how clutch Riku Helenius can be. Note that in the opening match of the Kval till Elitserien, Sodertalje did defeat MODO 3-2 in a shootout with Pontus Sjogren between the pipes.

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