Goaltending Steady for Jokerit in SM Series

Feb 23, 2023 | World Hockey Hub

Sakari Savolainen, goaltender for 2007-born Finnish youth hockey team Jokerit makes a glove save during a game.
Photo from Instagram | @jokerit_u16_

Korhonen, Savolainen’s consistency has led to success

At 26-12-0, it can be easy to say that this season has been a success so far for ‘07 Finnish No. 9 Jokerit. After compiling a 19-5-0 record in the first set of group play matchups, their current stretch has started off slowly. Sitting at 5-6-0, they hope a strong finish can not only bolster their placement in the group standings, but the World Rankings as well. 

A large reason they feel the confidence to take advantage of their remaining games is the fact they are equipped with two of the best goaltenders in the group. You’d be hard pressed to find two better netminders that regularly compete against the Top 10 teams from their country. Statistically, Jokerit’s dynamic duo of Pekka Korhonen and Sakari Savolainen are the premier stoppers of the puck among fellow U16 squads. 

Both goalies have split time fairly evenly, with Korhonen suiting up in four games compared to Savolainen’s six starts. In those four starts, Korhonen has compiled a .911 save percentage and 2.79 goals-against average. Savolainen has a .908 save percentage and 2.33 goals-against average, boosted by also garnering a shutout against No. 6 HIFK

In the first set of group matches played from Sept. 9 to Dec. 10 of this season, Korhonen established a .907 save percentage and 2.09 goals against. Savolainen skated to a .895 save percentage and 2.25 goals against.

For the most part, Jokerit’s defenders do a decent job of limiting scoring chances, as they have only allowed 30 or more shots in a game four times. The reason to believe that Jokerit can put together some decent success in the next few weeks is just looking at their most recent outing against No. 1 K-Espoo. Korhonen aided his team by stopping 27 shots in the 5-2 statement win.

With the second game of their series slated for Friday, Feb. 24, a second win could only strengthen Jokerit’s confidence down the home stretch. A schedule that sees them face off against four Top-10 ranked clubs in the country. 

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