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UPL: Luukkonen named Cyclones all-star representative

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Mon, Jan 6th 2020 03:05 pm

December Goalie of The Month ranks 3rd amongst league netminders in GAA

The Cincinnati Cyclones, in conjunction with the ECHL, announced goaltender Ukko-Pekka Luukkonen was named the Cyclones' representative for the 2020 Warrior/ECHL All-Star Classic.

Hailing from Espoo, Finland, Luukkonen has skated in 18 games for the Cyclones this season, accounting for a record of 11-4-3-0, and ranks third with a 2.08 goals-against average, to go along with a .909 save-percentage. He is also tied for second in the ECHL with three shutouts. 

Luukkonen has allowed more than three goals on four occasions this season, and has made 25 or more saves on nine occasions. He was named the Warrior Hockey/ECHL Goaltender of the Month for December after posting a record of 6-2-1-0 and a 1.88 GAA along with a .925 save percentage.

Drafted by Cincinnati's National Hockey League affiliate the Buffalo Sabres in the second round of the 2017 NHL Entry Draft, Luukkonen is coming off a successful season with the Sudbury Wolves in the Ontario Hockey League. There, he posted a record of 38-11-2, along with a 2.50 GAA and a .920 save percentage. He was named OHL Goaltender of the Year for his efforts, and he also earned the Red Tilson Trophy, which is given to the Most Outstanding Player in the league. He is the first European import player to earn that award.

Luukkonen made his North American debut late last season, stopping 32 shots in a 4-2 win over the Belleville Senators on April 14. He has also seen time on the international stage with the Finnish National Team, earning a gold medal in both the 2019 Under-20 World Junior Championships and 2017 Under-18 World Junior Championships, and he helped backstop the Finnish squad to a silver medal in the 2017 U18 WJC. Luukkonen has also suited up on the Finnish club level for the HPK program from 2014-18, winning a Jr. A SM-liiga Championship in 2017. 

The 2020 Warrior/ECHL All-Star Classic presented by Toyota will be hosted by the Wichita Thunder at 8 p.m. ET Wednesday, Jan. 22, at INTRUST Bank Arena. The game will air live exclusively on NHL Network.

Following the format established last season, the Warrior/ECHL All-Star Classic will feature a 3-on-3 tournament, with four teams competing for the top spot. The Wichita Thunder will make up two of the four teams, and will face-off against the other two teams made up of all-star players from the Eastern and Western Conferences. These four teams will compete in a 3-on-3 tournament with rally scoring in order to crown a winner. The 2020 Kansas Star Casino/ECHL All-Star Skills Competition will take place in between rounds of the tournament, with results counting toward the cumulative score.

There have been 68 players from the ECHL All-Star Game who have gone on to play in the NHL, including 52 since 2002 when the lineups began having players who coaches felt were prospects to move up to a higher level. The rosters for the Eastern Conference and Western Conference all-stars were determined in a vote of coaches, team captains, media relations directors, broadcasters and members of the media. 

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