The KODIAK Melbourne Mustangs are pleased to announce the signing of Finnish goaltender Petri Pitkänen (183cm, 80kg) for 2018.
No stranger to the AIHL, Petri was named Goaltender of the Year in 2014 after backstopping the CBR Brave to the AIHL Finals in their debut season. That year Petri had a GAA of 2.93 and a Save Percentage of 0.906. Since leaving Canberra Petri has played three seasons in Mestis, the second-highest league in Finland.
"When I was in Australia last time, I really enjoyed my time there playing in the AIHL and all the people were really warm and friendly," Petri said. "Since then I've been focusing on playing ice hockey here in Finland and because of that I couldn't commit to come back because our season always started in August. This year I focused mainly on my uni studies and now that I'm graduating it allows me to come back and be there for the full season. That's why I wanted to use this opportunity to play in the AIHL again."
Why the change of scenery this time around? "I have a lot of respect towards the organisation in Canberra and I'm also really thankful for everything everyone did for me there. I thought I wanted to try something different this time. After talking with Anton [Kokkonen, Mustangs 2017 import] I was convinced that joining the Mustangs was a great choice for me. I heard only good things about the organisation and the city of Melbourne. Playing against the Mustangs last time I got a feeling that they were group who had really fun playing hockey together. I also really enjoyed the city last time we visited there with the Brave."
There's also some serious non-hockey reasons for coming to Melbourne - "Me and my friend are also big fans of Masterchef Australia and when I found out that Matt Preston lives there in Melbourne, I couldn't help myself than come there and try to get a selfie with him. Who knows, maybe I'm in the next season cooking frozen pizzas for Matt, George and Gary!"
“Petri knows the league and has improved his game significantly since he last played in the AIHL," said Mustangs coach Maxime Langelier-Parent. "He's coming in early to make sure he's in top form when the season starts and we are loving how motivated he is to help this team win a championship. Our goalie coach Damian Holland was very impressed with his positioning and how well he moves in the net. When a talented guy is ready to put in the hard work in order to contribute to the success of the team you can only expect great results!”