Harri Sateri allowed 7 goals on 41 shots as the Finnish U20 WJC team started off their tournament with a 7-4 loss to Russia. Lightning prospect Riku Helenius did not play in the game.
The Seattle Thunderbirds have confirmed goaltender and Lightning prospect Riku Helenius has been named to the Finnish World Junior team that will take part in the 2008 IIHF World Junior Championship in Pardubice and Liberec, Czech Republic, from December 26 to January 5.
"We are very happy for Riku that he has been selected to play for Team Finland," said T-Birds General Manager Russ Farwell. "He has established himself as a top goalie in our league and we expect him to be a key member of Team Finland."
Helenius left December 10 for the Team Finland World Junior Evaluation Camp. He is now with the Finnish team as they prepare for the tournament. He has an 8-7-5-0 record with the T-Birds this season and a goals against average of 2.61, a save percentage of .911, and one shutout.
Helenius, who will be the only Lightning draftee at this year's WJCs, was selected by the Tampa Bay Lightning in the first round, 15th overall, of the 2006 NHL Entry Draft.
Tri-City Americans 3 @ Seattle Thunderbirds 2 (OT)
G Riku Helenius, SEA: OTL, 34 saves on 37 shots, *First Star*
Helenius was â€œstellarâ€ for Seattle, only allowing one even-strength goal. The overtime winner was a shot through a screen that apparently bounced in off a shin, Helenius told the Seattle Times. It was scored on the power play.
Prince George Cougars 3 @ Chilliwack Bruins 6
C/W Dana Tyrell, PG: Did not play
Tyrell is recovering from a minor knee injury and may be ready for this weekend's games.
Both Lightning prospects were named stars of the game as Mitch Faddenâ€™s Hurricanes squeaked by Riku Heleniusâ€™ Thunderbirds 3-2. All three Lethbridge goals, including Fadden's eleventh of the season, came on the power play. Helenius has lost five straight appearances, but twice in that time he was named a star of the game. He has at least 30 saves in 4 of those 5 games. Seattle managed only 18 shots against Lethbridge.
Prince George Cougars 1 @ Spokane Chiefs 4
C/W Dana Tyrell, PG: 0-0-0, -1, 0 PIM
Prince George lost their fifth in a row as Dana Tyrellâ€™s modest three game point streak came to an end. The Chiefs are 12-1-0-1 in their last 14 games.
Moncton Wildcats 2 @ Lewiston MAINEiacs 3
D Michael Ward, LEW: 0-0-0, -1, 2 PIM, 0 SOG
Jonathan Bernier stopped 31 shots for Lewiston to improve his record since leaving the L.A. Kings to 4-3-0.
When Helenius gets really animated, he explodes into a steady cadence of Finnish and English. It's a hybrid of discordant syllables, and though no one really understands each word, the meaning is clear.
"There's some form of yelling coming out of his mask, but no one really knows what he's saying," Seattle coach Rob Sumner said.
"It just comes out naturally," Helenius said with a wide smile. "The players can figure out what I'm saying. There might be a couple of bad words, but those are bad words in Finnish, too."
For the remainder of the feature, see the Seattle Times story, T-Birds Goalie is a Force.