Recent Goalie Assists
by Andrew Podnieks|16 MAY 2022
Czech goalie Simon Hrubec makes a save at the 2021 IIHF Ice Hockey World Championship. In Riga he was one of the last goalkeepers to record an assist in top-level men's World Championship play.
photo: Chris Tanouye / HHOF-IIHF Images
The last two players to touch the puck before a player scores get credited with assists, but “helpers,” as they’re sometimes called, come in many different forms and qualities. And perhaps a few times during a tournament a goalie will get credited with an assist. Here is a look back at some recent assists credited to the men whose job is to keep the puck out of their own goal more than to help with the offence.

Simon Hrubec (CZE)
24 May 2021, Group stage
Belarus scored first, the Czechs rallied, then Belarus tied the game in the third, forcing overtime. Hrubec made a save early in the extra session, and teammate Robin Hanzl collected the puck. In the same motion, he moved it up to Dominik Kubalik, who converted the breakaway at 1:23 to give the Czechs a 3-2 win over Belarus.

Darcy Kuemper (CAN) 
26 May 2021, Group Stage
Canada beat Norway, 4-2, but it wasn’t easy. They took a 2-0 lead, only to see the Norwegians tie it up. Canada went ahead late in the second, and midway through the third added a fourth, by Adam Henrique, with an assist from the goalie. Kuemper got a touch on the puck. Moments later, Henrique created a breakaway off a turnover at the Canada blue line and scored short-handed to give Canada a 4-2 lead. It was the team’s first win after three straight losses to open the tournament and was essential to the team’s qualifying for the playoffs.

Kevin Lankinen (FIN)
23 May 2019, Quarter-finals
The tense playoff matchup between Finland and Sweden was all Sweden for the longest time. But Finland stormed back from 3-1 and 4-3 down to force overtime, and early in the five-minute period Lankinen made a save from close in. Sakari Manninen collected the puck at the crease and dashed the length of the ice on an odd-man rush, eschewing the pass and firing the winner. Three days later, they won gold.

Jussi Olkinuora (FIN)
17 May 2019, Group stage
Olkinuora played only one game in 2019, but he made it memorable. He earned a shutout in a 5-0 win over Great Britain, stopping just 12 shots, but he also earned an assist on the first goal of the game, early in the second period, which turned out to be the game winner. He touched the puck behind his goal on the power play set-up, and Mikko Lehtonen moved the puck up to Toni Rajala, who did the rest. 

Thatcher Demko (USA)
15 May 2019, Group stage
In a USA-GBR game that ended 6-3 for the Americans, Demko got the puck early in the second period on a power play. He moved it to Quinn Hughes who passed ahead to Clayton Keller, who scored. The U.S. never looked back.

Anders Nilsson (SWE)
15 May 2018, Group stage
On the final day of the round robin, the situation was simple when Sweden and Russia took the ice. Whichever team won the game would finish in first place in Group A and play Latvia in the playoffs. The loser would play Canada. Motivation was not a problem. Russia scored the only goal of the first, but Sweden scored two in the second. A thrilling third saw the Russians pull goalie Vasili Koshechkin for the extra attacker. Nilsson made a high save off his shoulder and controlled the puck, pushing it to his left side where Mattias Ekholm looked up and fired a shot the length of the ice into the open net. Sweden went on to win gold.

Sebastian Dahm (DEN)
12 May 2017, Group stage
Denmark scored a huge, 3-2, win over Germany in overtime, and Dahm was in on the winning goal by Peter Regin at 1:40 of the short fourth period. Germany controlled the puck in the Denmark end, but Dahm made an absolutely brilliant save off Dennis Seidenberg. Nikolaj Ehlers collected the loose puck by the side of the goal, and Peter Regin finished the play. But it was Dahm who made the win possible with his save. 

Connor Hellebuyck (USA)
13 May 2017, Group stage
The Americans beat Latvia, 5-3, in a back-and-forth game. They trailed early 2-0 and 3-1, but tied the score by the end of the second period. The third was tense and scoreless, but as overtime loomed Latvia dumped the puck in on a line change. Hellebuyck stopped the puck behind the net where Bobby Copp collected it with speed. He came around the goal and blew up ice, scoring with a shot and giving his team a lead. They added an empty netter to seal the victory.

Lars Haugen (NOR)
9 May 2017, Group stage
Haugen has three career assists in WM play, his most recent coming in 2017 during a crucial 5-1 win over Slovenia. Hoping for a spot in the quarter-finals, but with one eye on avoiding relegation, Norway knew this was a game they would have to win either way. They jumped into a quick 3-0 lead after one period, and Haugen assisted on their fourth goal late in the second on a power play. Slovenia cleared the puck down the ice, but Haugen came well out of his goal to move the puck up to Jonas Holos. He fed Aleksander Reichenberg, who drove hard to the net and scored a beauty.

Thomas Greiss (GER)
16 May 2016, Group stage
In the team’s final game of the round robin, Germany rallied for a 4-2 win over Hungary. Constantin Braun scored the game winner late in the third, and then Marcel Goc added an empty netter to seal the win. That last was assisted by Greiss, who had made a nice save to keep his team in the lead. Yanic Seidenberg was there to pick up the rebound, and he led Goc with a pass that was too far ahead. Goc managed to get a stick on it, though, and the puck rolled into the empty net all the same.

Pavel Poluektov (KAZ)
11 May 2016, Group stage
Kazakhstan lost to Sweden by a 7-3 score midway through the round robin. Indeed, Tre Kronor scored four goals by the early part of the second, so Kazakh coach Andrei Nazarov pulled Vitali Kolesnik in favour of backup Poluetkov. Early in the third, Roman Savchenko scored a sensational goal to make it 6-3, and Poluetkov earned an assist. Sweden had good pressure in the Kazakh end, and Poluetkov stopped a dangerous shot and kicked the puck into the corner. Yevgeni Rymarev moved quickly up ice, and after dancing around a bit got the puck to Savchenko. Savchenko eluded his man just insdie the Sweden blue line, but he was tripped. Nevertheless, as Savchenko was falling he snapped a long shot on goal that beat Viktor Fasth.