What a difference a great goalie can make. During the Sudbury Wolves’ trio of road games last week, Finnish import Ukko-Pekka Luukkonen was a veritable wall, turning aside 99 shots and helping the Pack to its first five-game winning streak in recent memory.
Wolves fans aren’t the only ones who noticed Luukkonen’s performance.
The Ontario Hockey League today announced the Buffalo Sabres prospect is the OHL ‘On the Run’ Player of the Week, for the week ending Oct. 7. He posted a 3-0-0-0 record with a goals-against-average of 1.66 and save percentage of .952.
With five straight wins, the Wolves sit atop the league’s overall standings with 12 points. On Thursday night, Luukkonen had a first-star performance between the pipes with a season-high 46 saves in a 3-2 win over the Niagara IceDogs. Luukkonen made 23 saves as part of a 4-1 victory over the Erie Otters on Friday night, then wrapped up the road trip with 30 stops in a 3-2 overtime triumph against the Kitchener Rangers on Sunday afternoon.
The 19-year-old hails from Espoo, Finland, and was picked third overall by the Wolves in the CHL Import Draft, the first European goaltender to be selected since 2013.
“His perfect start has situated him among the league’s goaltending leaders with a goals-against-average of 1.78 and save percentage of .944 while his five wins are a top mark,” the OHL said in a news release.
The Sabres picked Luukkonen in the second round of the 2017 NHL Draft and signed him to an entry-level contract in June.
2018-19 OHL ‘On the Run’ Players of the Week – Regular Season:
Oct. 1 – Oct. 7: Ukko-Pekka Luukkonen (Sudbury Wolves)
Sept. 24 – Sept. 30: Lucas Chiodo (Barrie Colts)
Sept. 19 – Sept. 23: Akil Thomas (Niagara IceDogs)