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Aittokallio to make NHL debut in Avalanche net

Thursday, 04.11.2013 / 4:02 PM

By Staff -  / 2012-2013 At the Rink blog

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2012-2013 At the Rink blog
Aittokallio to make NHL debut in Avalanche net

With regular starter Semyon Varlamov scratched due to a hip injury and the Colorado Avalanche playing their third game in four nights, they will turn to Sami Aittokallio on Thursday against the Los Angeles Kings (10:30 p.m. ET, NHLN-US, NHLN-CA).

The team announced via its Twitter feed Thursday that the 20-year-old will be making his first NHL appearance after veteran goaltender Jean-Sebastien Giguere started four of Colorado's past five games, posting a 1-2-1 record.

A fourth-round pick in the 2010 NHL Draft, Aittokallio has spent much of the season playing for Lake Erie of the American Hockey League. In 26 games with the Monsters, the native of Tampere, Finland posted a 2.89 goals-against average and .903 save percentage. He was the starting goaltender for a Finland squad that finished fourth at the 2012 IIHF World Junior Championship.

With eight games remaining in their season, the Avalanche (13-22-5) sit last in the Western Conference and will make Aittokallio the second-youngest starting goaltender in franchise history, behind Marc Denis, who was 19 when he started a game in 1996.

Quote of the Day

Life's about opportunity and how you respond to that opportunity, and obviously he must have some swagger about him, some confidence about him, because he was solid. He made some good saves. He was 6-foot-3 on every shot, which is a good thing for a goalie. He played well. We got a win.

— Maple Leafs coach Mike Babcock on rookie goaltender Garret Sparks, who made 24 saves in his first NHL start, a 3-0 win vs. Oilers
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