Helenius, Riku

Helenius Wins Urpo Ylonen Award

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 Playoff Game Night: 5-22-12 Admirals at IceCaps Game Four

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.

First Period
NOR Oberg, (2) (Picard, Angelidis), 15:15
NOR Johnson, (3) (Palat, Barberio), 17:47 (PP)

Second Period
NOR Smith, (4) (Labrie, Aulie), 1:41

Third Period
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.

Brandon Segal made sure that St. John's championship hopes stayed Submerged with a capping insurance goal.

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.

Newspaper Report: Riku Helenius Possibly Returning to Tampa Bay?

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.

Prospect of the Week (4.25.12)

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 prospect’s achievement on the ice.

This week’s BP Prospect of the Week award goes to … Riku Helenius, G, JYP (SM-liiga, Finland).

The 2011-2012 season ended for Helenius this week – in the best way possible. The Lightning’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.

European Game Day: 4-23-12

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.

SM-liiga Game Day: 4-21-12

SM-liiga Finals (Finland):
(4)JYP 5 @ (2)Pelicans Lahti 4 (OT)
JYP Leads the Series 3-1
Riku Helenius, JYP, Win, 49/53, 3.28 GAA, .925 sv%
Playoff totals: 12 GP, 10-2-0, 0 SO, 1.80 GAA, .944 sv%
Regular season totals: 33 GP, 21-9-1, 7 SO, 1.64 GAA, .936 sv%

One win away. Former Lightning forward Eric Perrin had the primary assist on Harri Pesonen's goal at 13:26 of overtime to lift JYP to a 5-4 Game Four win over Pelicans Lahti. Ex-Lightning draft pick Radek Smolenak, who had been scoreless in the series' previous 4 games, did everything he could to deliver the series tying win for Lahti. He had 2 goals and 1 assist, including the game tying goal with 27 seconds left in the Third Period to force overtime. But, in the end, JYP took Lahti's best punch and are now one victory away from being able to call themselves champions.

European Game Day: 4-19-12

SM-liiga Finals (Finland):
(2)Pelicans Lahti 1 @ (4)JYP 4
JYP Leads the Series 2-1
Riku Helenius, JYP, Win, 33/34, 1.00 GAA, .971 sv%
Playoff totals: 11 GP, 9-2-0, 0 SO, 1.65 GAA, .946 sv%
Regular season totals: 33 GP, 21-9-1, 7 SO, 1.64 GAA, .936 sv%

Big game Riku! Riku Helenius stopped 33 shots and was named first star for JYP's 4-1 Game Three win over Lahti. Ex-Lightning forward Eric Perrin had a pair of helpers in support of Helenius for JYP. Another former Lightning forward, Radek Smolenak, has yet to hit the scoresheet in the series for Pelicans. Game Four is Saturday.

MHL Finals (Russia Jr.):
Omsk Jr. whipped CSKA Jr. 5-2 in Game One of their Finals series. Nikita Kucherov did not appear for CSKA Jr.

SM-liiga Game Day: 4-17-12

SM-liiga Finals (Finland):
(4)JYP 6 @ (2)Pelicans Lahti 2
Series Tied at 1-1
Riku Helenius, JYP, Win, 28/30, 2.00 GAA, .933 sv%
Playoff totals: 10 GP, 8-2-0, 0 SO, 1.71 GAA, .944 sv%
Regular season totals: 33 GP, 21-9-1, 7 SO, 1.64 GAA, .936 sv%

Ex-Lightning forward Eric Perrin (pictured circa the old school) had 1 goal and 2 assists and was named first star in JYP's critical 6-2 Game Two win over Pelicans Lahti. Lightning prospect Riku Helenius improved to 8-2 in the postseason in the victory. Wild draft pick Niko Hovinen, who had a shutout in Game One, allowed 5 goals on 43 shots in defeat in Game Two. JYP again outshot Pelicans; this time by a 44-30 margin. Game Three is Thursday.

SM-liiga Game Day: 4-16-12

SM-liiga Finals (Finland):
(2)Pelicans Lahti 2 @ (4)JYP 0
Lahti Leads the Series 1-0
Riku Helenius, JYP, Loss, 20/22, 2.04 GAA, .909 sv%
Playoff totals: 9 GP, 7-2-0, 0 SO, 1.68 GAA, .945 sv%
Regular season totals: 33 GP, 21-9-1, 7 SO, 1.64 GAA, .936 sv%

Minnesota Wild draft pick Niko Hovinen turned away 37 shots and was named first star in Lahti's 2-0 Game One win over JYP. Lightning prospect Riku Helenius was named the game's third star, turning away 20 of 22 shots in defeat. Game Two is scheduled for Tuesday.

European Game Day: 4-11-12

SM-liiga Semifinals (Finland):
(4)JYP 3 @ (6)Jokerit 2 (OT)
JYP Wins the Series 4-1
Riku Helenius, JYP, Win, 28/30, 1.90 GAA, .933 sv%
Playoff totals: 8 GP, 7-1-0, 0 SO, 1.64 GAA, .948 sv%
Regular season totals: 33 GP, 21-9-1, 7 SO, 1.64 GAA, .936 sv%

Ex-Avalanche draft pick Mikko Viitanen scored 3:17 into overtime to lift JYP to a 3-2 series clinching Game Five victory. 17-year old potential first rounder Tuevo Teravainen had an assist in the loss for Jokerit, giving him 1 goal and 3 points in the series. He finished the playoffs with 2 goals and 6 points in 9 games. Riku Helenius and JYP will face Pelicans Lahti in the finals starting next Monday.

MHL Western Conference Finals (Russia Jr.):
CSKA Jr. won Game Five 5-3 on the strength of a 4 goal, 1 assist performance by Nikita Gusev to advance to the MHL finals. CSKA Jr. was again without the services of Nikita Kucherov, but they did get ex-NHLer Nikita Filatov back for the match. CSKA Jr. will defend their MHL title against the eventual winner of the Eastern Conference title. Right now, Omsk Jr. holds a 2-1 series lead in the best-of-five series over Magnitogorsk Jr.

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