By Neate Sager | Buzzing The Net – Sun, 9 Feb,
The puck had some English on it, so Henri Ikonen had to get creative with the Finnish.
A short-handed penalty-shot goal is rare. Rarer still is a player trying a “one-hand top shelf” move in a regulation game like Ikonen, the Tampa Bay Lightning pick who plays for the OHL’s Kingston Frontenacs, did on Sunday.
As Ikonen crossed the blueline on his penalty shot, the puck took a hop, skip and jump over his stick. Perhaps that made him apprehensive about trying to pull the puck to his forehand against Sarnia Sting goalie Taylor Dupuis; so the 19-year-old Finn improvised and scored with a one-handed backhand flick.
That’s an upgrade on the Peter Forsberg/Pavel Datsyuk move, that just involves a lefty-shooting player trying to wrap the puck around the goalie’s left pad and tuck it into the net. Ikonen lifted it.
The goal gave the Frontenacs sufficient cushion for a 4-2 win over Sarnia and gave Ikonen 55 points in 40 games, which tops the 51 that he posted during his first season in the OHL. The Savonlinna, Finland native has had a fine first few weeks of the new calendar year. Last month, Ikonen helped Team Finland win the world junior championship gold medal. Frontenacs coach Todd Gill has said in the past that he relishes the “snot” that the left wing provides when Ikonen is on a line with NHL draft prospects Sam Bennett and Spencer Watson, but the Finn also has some finesse.
Spare some empathy for Dupuis, who’s performed admirably for the struggling Sting; he stopped 42 of 46 shots on Sunday.
Neate Sager is a writer for Yahoo! Canada Sports. Follow him on Twitter @neatebuzzthenet (video: TV Cogeco Ontario).