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Thursday, 30 August 2012 11:51

Finnish goalie makes impression at Broncos training camp

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Swift Current Broncos import goalie Eetu Laurikainen between the pipes for Team Black during the intra-squad game against Team White that concluded the club’s training camp on Aug. 26. Swift Current Broncos import goalie Eetu Laurikainen between the pipes for Team Black during the intra-squad game against Team White that concluded the club’s training camp on Aug. 26. Matthew Liebenberg/Prairie Post

Finding a starting goaltender is a key priority for the Swift Current Broncos as they prepare for the start of a new season.

 

Three netminders were still in contention after the conclusion of the club’s five-day training camp on Aug. 26.

Last season 18-year-old Steven Myland (6’0”, 209 lbs) played for the North Delta Devils in the Pacific Junior Hockey League after two games for the Broncos while 17-year-old Landon Bow (6’2”, 150 lbs) played for the St. Albert Raiders in the Alberta Midget AAA league.

But Finnish import Eetu Laurikainen appears to be the one who will get the nod from Broncos Head Coach Mark Lamb.

“I see that as his job and the other two guys are going for the backup,” Lamb said after the camp.

The Broncos selected Laurikainen (5’10”, 161 lbs) 20th overall in the 2012 Canadian Hockey League import draft. The 19-year-old is from Jyväskylä in Finland.

Lamb was impressed with Laurikainen’s attitude and the way he played during the training camp.

“You can tell he’s played a lot of good goal and he’s just getting comfortable,” Lamb said. “He’s got new equipment, new surroundings, new rink, new everything and I though his training camp was excellent coming into a new situation.”

Last season he played with the JYP under-20 team in the Finnish Jr. A SM league. He recorded a 3.15 GAA with a .915 save percentage and one shutout during 26 regular season games.

He also played six games for the JYP-Akatemia team in the Mestis league, where he had a 3.13 GAA and a 0.919 save percentage.

Lamb had some time to speak with the goalie on their way back from the airport, when he learned that Laurikainen has already done a lot of reading about Saskatchewan and Swift Current.

“I was amazed at how much he knew about our league already when he got here,” Lamb said. “He wants to play in the NHL, he wants to have a good season here and I think we’re lucky to have him.”

Laurikainen felt his position with the Broncos is a good opportunity.

“I had a chance and I think this is a good place to go forward,” he said. “I think it was a good idea to come here.”

His view about what he must do to become the Broncos starting goalie is straightforward.

“Catch the pucks,” he laughed. “As easy as that.”

His approach to his game is to stay calm and focused while using his reflexes to make saves. He is still working on improving his strength as a means “to push more forward and to be even faster.”

While he is far away from home, he did not feel the adjustment will be too difficult for him.

“No, I don’t think so,” he said. “I have Skype and Facebook and I can keep connected with my family.”

 

Read 11202 times Last modified on Thursday, 30 August 2012 11:55
Matthew Liebenberg

Reporter/Photographer