Helenius, Riku

Kval till Elitserien Game Day: 4/3/11

Rogle 1 @ Sodertalje 2
Riku Helenius, Sodertalje, Win, 29/30, 1.00 GAA, .967 sv%
Season totals: 18 GP, 4-11-0, 0 SO, 3.03 GAA, .884 sv%
Kval till Eliserien totals: 3 GP, 1-0-1, 0 SO, 1.50 GAA, .943 sv%

Riku Helenius just won the biggest game of the season for Sodertalje. Sitting in 3rd place behind Rogle, Helenius made 29 saves to defeat the Allsvenskan side and keep Sodertalje afloat in their race to stay in the Elitserien next season. Ryan Lasch had both goals for Sodertalje.

However, MODO killed Mora 8-1 today, giving MODO the tiebreaker on goal differential at +10 to Sodertalje's +4. So, Vaxjo sits in first on the table at 20 points with MODO and Sodertalje trailing at 14 points a piece. Vaxjo has clinched a spot in the Elitserien next season because MODO and Sodertalje have a head-to-head game remaining. The top two teams go to Sweden's top league next season, so it looks like it's down to MODO, Sodertalje, and Rogle at 1 point back all fighting for 1 last spot. Sodertalje draws Mora and MODO in their remaining games. MODO gets Orebro and Sodertalje. Rogle has Vaxjo and Orebro left.

And, out of nowhere, it looks like Helenius, who backstopped Sodertalje through last year's Kval till Elitserien, will be in the thick of it at the very end this year. It might be Helenius' final games under a Lightning contract as a BoltProspect, but at least he's making it interesting.

Also, in the Elitserien playoffs, Farjestads and Skelleftea have advanced to the finals. They were the 2nd and 3rd place teams during the regular season.

Kval till Elitserien Game Day: 3/30/11

Sodertalje 1 @ Orebro 4
Riku Helenius, Sodertalje, DNP
Season totals: 18 GP, 4-11-0, 0 SO, 3.03 GAA, .884 sv%
Kval till Elitserien totals: 2 GP, 0-0-1, 0 SO, 3.00 GAA, .800 sv%

Sodertalje is in trouble. Orebro scored 3 unanswered 3rd period goals to defeat the Elitserien club 4-1 today in the 7th round of the Kval till Elitserien promotion/relegation tournament. With 3 games left to go, Sodertalje now sits in 3rd place, 2 points behind Allsvenskan side Rogle and 6 points behind another Allsvenskan side, Vaxjo. If the Kval till Elitserien ended today, Sodertalje would be relegated to the Allsvenskan. Complicating matters is Sodertalje's razor-thin tiebreaker lead over MODO, which is the other Elitserien club in the tournament. Sodertalje faces Rogle on Sunday in what is, essentially, a must-win for the club. A regulation loss for Sodertalje would make keeping their spot in Sweden's top league a near impossibility. It's hard to believe this is the same club that came within an eyelash of making the Elitserien playoffs just a few weeks ago.

Kval till Elitserien Game Day: 3/28/11

Vaxjo 5 @ Sodertalje 1
Riku Helenius, Sodertalje, ND, 4/5, 3.00 GAA, .800 sv%
Season totals: 18 GP, 4-11-0, 0 SO, 3.03 GAA, .884 sv%
Kval till Elitserien totals: 2 GP, 0-0-1, 0 SO, 3.00 GAA, .800 sv%

Riku Helenius spelled starter Pontus Sjogren after 40 minutes and allowed 1 goal the rest of the way in Sodertalje's 5-1 loss to Vaxjo. Ex-Lightning Traverse City camper Dustin Johner had 1 goal and 1 assist in the victory for Vaxjo. Sodertalje remains in second in the Kval till Elitserien with 11 points, 1 point ahead of MODO and Rogle. Vaxjo now holds a 4 point edge on Sodertalje in the standings. Sodertalje plays Orebro on Wednesday, and with 4 games left to go they are in peril of relegation.

Kval till Elitserien Game Day: 3/25/11

Sodertalje 2 @ Vaxjo 3 (SO)
Riku Helenius, Sodertalje, SOL, 0/0, 0.00 GAA, 1.000 sv%
Season totals: 18 GP, 4-11-0, 0 SO, 3.03 GAA, .884 sv%
Kval till Elitserien totals: 1 GP, 0-0-1, 0 SO, 0.00 GAA, 1.000 sv%

It's the sort of thing you don't see everyday: backup Riku Helenius spelled Pontus Sjogren in the shootout and allowed 2 of 4 shooters to convert in Sodertalje's 3-2 shootout loss to Vaxjo. Ex-Panthers draft pick Dustin Johner, who appeared for the Lightning during the Traverse City Prospects Tournament many years ago, had a pair of assists in the victory. Sodertalje forced overtime after Mathias Mansson scored with the goaltender pulled with just 56 seconds left in regulation. Vaxjo moves into the lead in the Kval till Elitserien at the halfway point of the schedule with 12 points in the standings. Sodertalje is 1 point back at 11 points and MODO is 2 points back at 10 points. MODO fell to Rogle 2-1 in a shootout today. Sodertalje will play Vaxjo again on Monday. 5 games remain in the Kval till Elitserien, and the top two teams will play in the Elitserien next season with the remaining teams going to the second tier Allsvenskan league.

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