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NYI Prospects

Räty Remains Dominant with Three-Point Effort Against Slovakia

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New York Islanders, Aatu Räty

New York Islanders top prospects Aatu Räty, Eetu Liukas, and Matias Rajaniemi were back in action Sunday, as Finland took on Slovakia at 2 PM ET, winning 9-3.

Aatu Räty entered his third game of the IIHF World Championships with goals in the previous two, along with three assists.

The former 52nd overall pick has showcased a variety of tools throughout the contest, and those same skills were on display against Slovakia.

After one period of play, Finland was up 2-1, but Räty did not play a part in any of the goals. But he was heavily involved in the attack.

Throughout the opening twenty minutes, Räty had the puck on his stick often, leading the rush a few times. He was very quick in transition, making simple but effective moves in the neutral zone, and made himself a pass option almost every time Finland cycled the Slovakian zone.

In 6:26 minutes played in the first period, Räty registered three shots on goal, two coming from the slot and one on the rush.

He was effective in the face-off dot, winning six of his eight draws.

Late in the first period, Räty tried to make a no-look behind the back pass as he went behind the Slovak net, but he failed to get it off. Instead of taking his time to get back in the play, he quickly rushed to the puck carrier, lifted his stick which allowed Finland to remain in the offensive zone.

Seconds later, New York Rangers prospect Adam Sykora took a major kneeing penalty and was ejected, as Finland received a five-minute power play.

If Räty does not get back in the play, Slovakia likely leaves the zone and that power play never comes to fruition.

The second period began with power-play time for Finland and Räty had his chances. Early on in his power-play shift, flanked on the right side, Räty tried to pass across the zone to set up his teammate for a one-timer. One puck made its way through, the other was deflected.

Räty showed off the creativity, as he received puck at the top of the zone in stride and cut through the defense before passing the puck in the low slot.

It was Mathew Barzal-esque, but a spot where Räty needs to let the shot go. Later on in the shift, Räty decided not to cut in from slot, firing a strong, low pad shot to create a rebound before leaving the ice.

Finland quickly earned another power-play chance and Räty was back on the ice. He had a one-time chance that if not blocked, forced Slovak netminder Simon Latkoczy to make a strong sliding save.

With 3:19 left in the second period, Aatu Räty buried the puck into the toy department from downtown as Latkoczy was out of position.

Räty did not even lift his head, as he knew that he had a semi-vacant net once he received the puck, as his wrist shot just missed dinging the water bottle.

That was Räty’s third goal in as many games at the World Juniors. He has a goal in each game of the tournament.

That goal, one of the easiest Räty has probably scored in his pro career, showed more than just accuracy. He was not the intended pass on the play but knew the situation in front of him. Not only did he have to get the shot off quickly, but it had to be accurate.

In 6:25 minutes played in the second period, Räty registered two shots on goal, one going in. He won five of eight face-offs (62.5%).

In the third period, Räty played x minutes

The Islanders did have two other prospects playing for Finland in forward Eetu Liukas and defenseman Matias Rajaniemi and in the third period we saw them get involved.

On a 1-on-1, Liukas made a nifty toe drag to get around the Slovakian defenseman before a hard shot. The play continued and Matias Rajaniemi sort of fanned on a point shot (stick might have broke) but the puck went right to teammate Juuso Maenpaa in front who tapped to a wide-open Kalle Vaisanen.

Räty notched another point on Finland’s eighth goal of the contest, a power-play goal as after he whiffed on a one-time chance inside the right circle, he regained control of the puck, fed Kasper Puutio, who found Kasper Simontaival in front.

Then Räty added his third point of the night, on a similar play, passing the puck from the right circle to Puutio on the other side of the rink, before he sniped.

Raty finished the final frame with no shots on goal in 5:16 TOI but two assists. He won two of his five draws (40%).

On the day, Aatu Räty notched a goal and two assists, with five shots, and was a +1 in 18:07 TOI. He won a total of 13 face-offs on 21 tries, which is good for 61.9% in the dots.

Matias Rajaniemi notched an assist in 10:29 TOI. Eetu Liukas three shots on goal in 10:19 minutes.

Finland’s next game comes against William Dufour and Canada Monday night at 6 PM ET.

Aatu Räty was drafted 52nd overall in the 2021 NHL Draft by the New York Islanders, a player who could end up being the steal of that draft. He played just two regular season games for the Bridgeport Islanders before playing a big role in Bridgeport advancing to the second round of the Calder Cup Playoffs for the first time since 2003. Räty, unless he makes the Islanders out of training camp, will be in Bridgeport to start the 2022-23 season. 

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