On November 26 and 28, the second part of the KHL World Games will take place. SKA and CSKA will face Dinamo Moscow. KHL.ru remembers the best clashes between the Army clubs and the Latvian franchise.
This match was the first game of the newly born Latvian club against any Army club. Dinamo had a slow start of the season, but they got the ball rolling before their trip to Moscow, winning three games on a row. Ronald Petrovicky scored the opening goal of the game. The Slovak player would leave Dinamo at the transfer deadline, and this goal was his second and last for the Riga-based team. In the first period, CSKA played three times with the man advantage, but instead of tying the game, they allowed another goal – scored by Mikelis Redlihs, one of the few players from this encounter that will represent Dinamo at the KHL World Games.
Thanks to Denis Parshin, CSKA finally managed to score a power-play goal, but before scoring, they allowed one goal more. Playing in four men, Marcel Hossa got one-on-one against Konstantin Barulin, beating him for his eighth of the season. The Slovak forward scored 22 goals that year and won the goal-scoring race one year later. But CSKA wouldn’t be CSKA if the team didn’t fight its way back. The IIHF World Championship gold-medal winner Konstantin Korneyev and the captain of the Team Russia at the IIHF WC played at home – Pyotr Schastlivy – scored to give CSKA hope, but the team led by Julius Supler managed to defend their advantage. Three years later, Supler would sit on CSKA Moscow’s bench.
In the KHL history, Dinamo Riga got five times to the playoffs but managed to get past the first round only twice. The first time – and thus far the most remarkable – has been the first time, when they defeated nothing short than SKA St. Petersburg. In that period SKA, led by the Sushinsky – Cajanek – Yashin troika, dominated the Western Conference in the regular season, and only Salavat Yulaev had more points in the standings. Riga got to the playoffs just as the eighth seed. It looked like there weren’t many chances for Dinamo, especially considering the result of the latest match between the teams – 1:8, with Cajanek and Sushinsky scoring four points each.
SKA got their first session of shock therapy at home, in front of a packed St. Petersburg Ice Palace. In two games, the famed SKA forwards managed to score on a fantastic Edgars Masalskis only once. For SKA, it could have been game over already in the first away match, but the team led by Barry Smith prolonged the season of one day. Dinamo iced Martin Prusek on goal, but the music didn’t change for SKA. Cajanek tried his best to get SKA back on track and had a pair of assists, but at that moment, SKA was already down by three goals. The gap enlarged enough in the first period alone, with goals coming from local legends Janis Sprukts and Aleksandrs Nizivijs. The last eight minutes of the match were full of drama, but SKA didn’t manage to score and allowed a final empty-net goal.
The defeat to Dinamo provoked a small revolution within SKA. The team’s performances cast a shadow mostly over the starting goalie Robert Esche and the head coach Barry Smith. Both left St. Petersburg, who signed from the NHL Evgeny Nabokov, Denis Grebeshkov, and Maxim Afinogenov. The new season’s schedule gave SKA a few chances to get its revenge. The first attempt, however, wasn’t successful, as the Ice Palace seen SKA losing once again, this time after overtime. That game rub salt in SKA’s wound.
Ivano Zanatta was the SKA’s head coach for less than two months, but before handing the reins to Vaclav Sykora managed to defeat Dinamo Riga. In spite of scoring a quick, early goal in the first period, twice they had to rally. Newly-signed players saved the night for the Zanatta’s team: the Vancouver Olympian Denis Grebeshkov and the Swedish double trouble Martensson and Weinhandl. At seven minutes to the horn, Dinamo was up 4:3, with one goal coming from the current head coach Girts Ankipans. However, SKA didn’t want to repeat the spring’s situation and won the game.
In the 2016-17 season, with Oleg Znarok at the helm of SKA, Dinamo Riga couldn’t defeat St. Petersburg even once. However, two years before, with the Bykov – Zakharkin tandem on the SKA’s bench, Riga managed to “steal” a game to the future champion. It happened in November when SKA was amid a so-called scheduled downturn. Before losing in Riga, SKA lost other three games of four. However, SKA had the upper hand on paper, and it was confirmed by Anton Burdasov quickly opening the score.
It was the first goal of the season for today’s Salavat Yulaev captain, who recently stated that Bykov and Zakharkin helped him the most in his rough time on ice. However, Dinamo replied to Burdasov with three unanswered goals (with a double by Mikelis Redlihs) in six minutes in a second-period blitz. SKA could only score another goal. The scorer was Andrei Kuteikin – but not from the red line this time. St. Petersburg’s army got back to the normality only in January, and in the playoffs, they had no rivals.
The history of the Dinamo – CSKA encounters seen both memorable wins (mostly by CSKA) and close games. There’s no need to look far to check for examples, as their latest game – played in last December – ended with CSKA getting the win with a 1:0 score. But usually, the fans are entertained by spectacular games with many goals. And often, these games end with Dinamo Riga winning. We all remember the incredible match the two teams played on 2014 Christmas’ Eve. Dinamo, then led by Artis Abols, had a bad December, while CSKA won almost all its games. Just one day before, CSKA’s winning streak of 13 games had interrupted.
When the score was 2:0 in the middle of the first period, it looked like the start of a negative series for CSKA. By the way, both goals were scored by Mikelis Redlihs. That’s a player that CSKA should fear at the KHL World Games! When CSKA cut down Dinamo’s lead to one goal, Linus Videll scored a power-play goal. But as usual, when the going gets tough, the tough get going, and CSKA got back on track. Defenseman Ondrej Nemec scored twice, and CSKA not only tied the game up but got back home with a well-deserved win, thanks to Stephan Da Costa’s game-winning goal. CSKA started a new winning streak and as a result, ended the campaign on the top of the regular-season standings.