Thursday, 01.11.18 / 8:42 am CT
Photo: Chip Pitcairn
IceRays forward Aleksi Peltonen has been recalled to the Omaha Lancers of the United States Hockey League. He is expected to remain there for the remainder of the 2017-18 regular season.
“As an organization, we are in the development business,” IceRays Head Coach Brad Flynn said. “Obviously, it’s not easy to lose a player of Aleksi’s caliber. But we are very proud of the strides he’s taken to have the opportunity to go back to the USHL.”
Peltonen has been on a tear lately, scoring seven points last week en route to earning the South Division First Star of the Week. He’s been arguably the IceRays’ best playmaker this season and has centered their top-scoring line since the start of November.
The Finnish phenom rejoins his twin brother, Jesper and the 16-8-2 Lancers, who currently boast the third-highest winning percentage in the USHL. Omaha’s head coach, David Wilkie, while having a successful first half of the season, believes Peltonen can help push his team over the top.
“Aleksi has done a fantastic job this year with regards to his individual development,” Wilkie said. “He has most certainly earned this promotion to the USHL because of his solid play in Corpus Christi this season. I would like to personally thank Brad Flynn on his handling of this situation and putting player progression/promotion ahead of team needs. Aleksi played well in his four-game call-up to Omaha in December and I expect that his good play will continue for us this year in Omaha.”
It is certainly a bittersweet day for the IceRays, who have moved another player on to the top junior hockey league in the country but will undoubtedly feel the effects of losing such a high-impact individual. The 17-year-old Russian Pavel Koreshkov seems to be the logical heir apparent, as he filled Peltonen’s spot brilliantly back in early December. Of course, there is always the possibility Peltonen’s previous linemates are reorganized elsewhere throughout the lineup. In either case, substantial reconstruction will need to be done, and Flynn knows his group will have to be prepared.
“As players and coaches, we are going to have to contribute more individually to help us reach the next level,” Flynn added.
The IceRays will host the Amarillo Bulls this Friday and Saturday at the American Bank Center. Puck drop is scheduled for 7:05 pm CT. The games will be broadcast on HockeyTV.com and on YouTube.