Koskinen Shines In Net
Rookie goalie helps Sound Tigers to preseason win
Koskinen Shines in Preseason Win
By Gerry Cantlon Eurohockey.net
Shelton,CT-Finnish netminder Mikko Koskinen made excellent use of his two periods of action in helping the Bridgeport Sound Tigers to a 3-2 win over the Hartford Wolf Pack in AHL preseason action.
He came in after Scott Munroe started and held the hard charging Wolf Pack at bay turning away 30 of 31 shots faced.
He stopped Jordan Owens early with his backhand attempt, Swiss forward Andres Ambuhl in his pro camp ever off the left wing and Tomas Zaborsky, the young Slovak forward coming off shoulder surgery that prematurely ended his season last year.
The only puck to elude him was veteran forward Dane Byers tap in off a rebound from a hard shot from Ambuhl at 4:03 to increase the Wolf Pack lead to 3-2.
“He (Ambuhl) has gotten better each game, just has to find the back of the net, but for a smaller forward does a good job finishing his checks.” Said Hartford coach Ken Gernander.
Koskinen got help from Lithuanian Vladimir Nikiforov who deftly went backdoor in converting Paul Healey’s pass at 9:43 of the second. Healey spent last year with Vienna of the Austrian Elite League and played for the Wolf Pack six years ago.
The rest of the second period Koskinen used his 6’5 frame to perfection repelling Ambuhl at 12:56, Dale Weise on his doorstep and fellow Finn defenseman Ilkka Heikkinen with a blocker pad save.
In the third, the Sound Tigers scored the game winner on a ill advised slashing penalty by Wolf Pack defenseman Corey Potter behind the play while the Pack were on the rush at 9:06.
Bridgeport wasted little time converting a 12 seconds later as Nikiforov again going back door this time off the RW converting Dustin Friesen’s pass for the game winner and third point for the night.
Koskinen continued to spread his spider web around the net stopping Zaborsky at 11:58 on the powerplay and denying Heikknen whom played against in the Finnish Elite League last year in the waning seconds with 4.3 seconds remaining and his right point blast.
Then another as time was expiring with a tip in attempt by Tyler Arnason who won his second consecutive faceoff off Heikknen’s right point shot.
NOTES: Wolf Pack conclude their preseason schedule against Worcester at 3pm in Simsbury,CT…The Pack made five more cuts Saturday sending as expected Czech bluelliner Tomas Kundratek back to his junior team the Medicine Hat Tigers and released forward Dan LaCouture who spent time in the KHL last season. Sent to Charlotte (ECHL) were Mike Berube, Tysen Dowzak,Luke Lucyk all defenseman and forward Jean-Philip Chabot….Foward Derek Couture had another strong game for Hartford scoring another goal and has 4 in 3 games he played a portion of last season for the Hungarian team Alba Valon that plays in the Austrian Elite League….One of Bridgeports’s four goalies in camp is another Finn Juha Toivonen the younger brother of Hannu Toivonen recently reassigned to Peoria (AHL) his coach from the Central Hockey League Paul Gillis was in town with team brass looking at 5 players in camp. “Juha is very athletic and covers the net very quickly and is a young goalie with lots of upsides.” Gillis no stranger to Connecticut playing with the Hartford Whalers and coaching two defunct UHL franchises the New Haven Knights and Danbury Trashers.
Story added on 27th September 2009 at 17:03 GMT
Story submitted by: Gerry Cantlon.