Laaksonen off and running; Luukkonen loaned

Defenseman Oskari Laaksonen has gotten his Jr. A season off to a nice start with the Ilves U20 squad.

Laaksonen opened the season Wednesday, skating on Ilves' top defensive pair en route to collecting a game-high 23:35 of work as Ilves blanked HIFK 1-0. Laaksonen rounded out the effort with one shot on goal and showed his teeth with a roughing minor.

Ilves returned to work Friday against JYP, with Laaksonen picking up a pair of assists as his club erased a 4-1 deficit but eventually fell 6-5 in a shootout.

Laaksonen, who again spent some time in the penalty box with tripping and slashing minors, added five shots on goal to his stat line in the loss. He eclipsed the 23-minute mark for the second-straight contest, finishing with 23:35 time on ice spread over 32 shifts.

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Elsewhere in Finland, HPK has loaned goaltender Ukko-Pekka Luukkonen to LeKi of second division Mestis for the purpose of continuing his development against a high level of competition as opposed to him dominating another season in the U20 ranks.

Luukkonen and three other HPK players will play with LeKi for the entire 2017-18 season with the possibility to be recalled at various points based on HPK team needs.

I previously kicked this idea around in the European preview, but did not think HPK would pull the trigger on a loan despite having two veteran incumbents ahead of Luukkonen on their top club depth chart.

Luukkonen made his LeKi debut Friday, stopping all 11 shots sent his way to earn the shutout in a 9-0 trouncing of KJT M as part of the Finland Cup.

LeKi begins Mestis regular season play Sept. 29 versus Pelitat.



Frölunda HC sniper Victor Olofsson lined up as the second-line right-winger Thursday as the Indians continued Champions Hockey League pool play with a 4-2 victory over KAC Klagenfurt. Olofsson produced six shots on goal in 14:37 of action skating with the Westerholm twins, Pathrik and Ponthus.

Olofsson has hit for two power-play goals and 10 total shots thus far as Frölunda has claimed victory in all three Champions League contests to shoot out to the top spot in Group H.

The Indians begin Swedish Hockey League play Sept. 16 against Mora IK.

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In Sunday preseason action, Rasmus Asplund notched a goal and an assist as Färjestad BK downed Södertälje SK 5-1.

Through four exhibition games, Asplund has connected for two goals and three assists while skating on FBK's second line.

There are two preseason games left to be played, but it seems Asplund will be ready to go when Färjestad begins regular season play Sept. 16 versus Linköping.


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