Saturday, September 23, 2023

Comment: Lions are playing a tough game – Yellow Beak is in a wild place


The Legionnaires are depending on the World Cup debutant in the most important position. This has its own risks, writes hockey journalist Sami Hoffren.


On Wednesday night, the Lions put up a hard-fought performance to overcome France 5-3.

The Lions still have three games left in the excruciatingly long preliminary group stage, but already at this stage it is clear who will be scoring for the Lions in next week’s quarter-final game.

He is Emile Larmee. The 26-year-old, who made his World Cup debut, has been picked as the Lions’ number one keeper.

Of course, the sticky France game didn’t dictate the marching order of the goalkeepers. The hot question of who is the Lions’ number one going into Monday’s game against Sweden was already answered. Larmee was his team’s best player in the toughest game of the group.

Laramie opened the games with a goal for the Lions against the United States. At the start of the race, Keltanocca was still not at his best. Champion goalkeeper Jussi Olkinuora had to save Saturday’s game against Germany, which did not go well.

Laramie’s status as the new number one is underscored by the fact that their challenger Olkinuora was in the stands in Wednesday’s game when the coaching management wanted to dress Christian Heljango as a backup guard, who was replaced with three guards for the game. was chosen as

Now it seems the game of goalkeeping hinges on one card. This has its own risks. The debutant is under a lot of pressure.

Due to the special schedule of the matches, Lijonat played three games at once against the most difficult countries in Group A for four days. In the same time period, Legion’s starting goalkeeper was practically decided for the deciding game.

The France game was difficult for Laramie. The opening goal was a ridiculous fluke, but in France’s other goals, the defense let Larme alone.

In the first two games, Laramie blocked 93.6 percent of the puck. Orkinora had a save percentage of 76.9 in the win over Germany.

Against Sweden he was replaced by Emile Larmee.

Against Sweden he was replaced by Emile Larmee. Photo: Tony Repo/Amulehti

Without injury or any major surprises, Larmee is the Lions’ clear number one goaltender in these games.

This is not surprising at all, as Larmee has had the best season of his career in the club team. The men from Lahti defeated the Väckjo Lakers to become SHL champions.

Laramie’s statistics were magically difficult. In the regular season, he was the SHL’s statistical number one in save percentage (93.4), goals conceded average (1.62) and clean sheets (8). Larmee was selected as the Most Valuable Player in the playoffs.

This kind of brilliance has yet to be seen on World Cup ice, but Larmee has been better than Legion’s two-piece.

Larmee’s season looks like a fairytale ten years ago, produced by another diminutive finish guard in his twenties.

Antti Ranta, who currently represents the Carolina Hurricanes, shone as the top goalscorer in the SM League in the 2012–13 season with eighty goals. In the playoffs, Rauma’s keeper was phenomenal on the way to the championship.

After Cannon’s season, Jukka Jalonen selected Ranta for the World Cup squad. The World Cup debutant defended solidly (7 games, 92.8%, 2.09 m/o) as the Lions’ first keeper in games in Helsinki and Stockholm.

After the super season, Ranta signed an NHL contract with the Chicago Blackhawks, and the rest is history.

The stories of Larami and Rana have similar features. With the difference, of course, that Laramie has already found its wings in North America in 2019-21.

It wouldn’t be surprising if, after the World Cup, an NHL club makes Laramie a new contract offer.

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