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Heponiemi, Karpat off to good start in Champions League

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Cats prospect draws helper in two group stage games

Czech Republic v Finland: Quarterfinal - 2018 IIHF World Junior Championship Photo by Nicholas T. LoVerde/Getty Images

With not much going on yet hockey-wise on North American shores, there is some Florida Panthers-related news from across the pond as the 2018-19 Champions Hockey League got underway across Europe this weekend.

32 teams, divided into eight groups of four, began group play and among them was Florida prospect Aleksi Heponiemi’s Karput Oulo squad. Each team will play the other three in its group twice with the top two teams advancing to the round of 16.

Karput blanked France’s Rouen Dragons by a 4-0 count on Friday and then blasted the Nurnberg Ice Tigers 9-3 on Sunday to take the lead in Group F.

In the game against Rouen, Heponiemi drew an assist on Lasse Kukkonen’s second period power-play goal. which put Karput up 3-0. He finished with two shots on goal and a +1 rating while logging 14:29 of ice time.

On Sunday against the Ice Tigers, Heponiemi didn’t produce any points in the rout, but did log 20:42 TOI, block one shot and finish with a +1 rating.

Next up for Karput is its second match against Rouen, this time on home ice in Finland.