Killer Bees goaltender Kalkaja makes NCAA DI commitment
August 13, 2014
The Rio Grande Valley Killer Bees, proud members of the North American Hockey League (NAHL), are pleased to announce that goaltender Olli Kalkaja has committed to play NCAA Division I hockey for the University of Massachusetts-Lowell. UMass-Lowell is a member of Hockey East.
Kalkaja, 21, just completed his first season in the NAHL with the Killer Bees. The native of Oulu, Finland, had an impressive season in the NAHL in 2013-14. Kalkaja (6’4/190) was one of six NAHL goalies to finish the season with a sub 2.00 goals against average, as Kalkaja finished with a 1.86 GAA, which ranked him 6th in the NAHL.
Kalkaja appeared in 37 games last year with Rio Grande Valley. He put together an 18-8-6 record with a save percentage of 91.5% and three shutouts. Kalkaja allowed four or more goals in a game just twice last season and had a string of 10 straight games in October and November when he didn’t post a loss in regulation.
“Olli was our MVP in many ways last season. From Day one he was our guy. He played 20 straight games to start our season and without him we wouldn't have been where we were. He deserves the opportunity that's been presented to him and we wish him all the best moving forward,” said Killer Bees head coach Joe Coombs.
Kalkaja takes over the goaltending spot at UMass-Lowell that was vacated by former NAHL goaltender Connor Hellebuyck (Odessa), who left school early to sign a pro contract with the Winnipeg Jets.
Prior to his arrival in the NAHL, Kalkaja played youth and junior hockey in Finland for Karpat. He is the eighth player from this past year’s Killer Bees squad to make an NCAA commitment.