The Carolina Hurricanes handed Checkers forward Aleksi Saarela his first-ever NHL recall on Wednesday.
In his first full season in North America, Saarela ranks third on the team with 13 goals – five of which have come in his last five games, including a hat trick on Dec. 21. Six of his goals came on the power play, helping the Checkers rank third in the league at 22.2 percent for the season.
The Checkers return to action for a back-to-back set in Hershey starting this Saturday. With Valentin Zykov returning from illness, the team had an extra forward at Wednesday’s practice and could soon welcome back Janne Kuokkanen, whose Finnish team recently concluded play at the World Junior Championship.