This curtain-raiser against Neftyanik is something of a tradition for Dinamo. This year, though, the Latvians were left with a weakened roster as their players return from their summer vacations. Goalie Kristers Gudlevskis was unavailable, giving Maxim Tretyak the start on his return to the club. Similarly, new imports Carter Ashton, David Ullstrom and Kristofer Berglund were absent, as were established stars Mikelis Redlihs and Lauris Darzins.
The first period brought no goals but a string of penalties against the visitor. However, Dinamo could not take those chances and was punished in the second period when it was reduced to three men. Almost immediately, Mikhail Patrikeyev’s shot from the blue line was deflected past Tretyak by Anton Ugolnikov. The Dinamo response did not take long: finally the power play delivered and new signing Jacob Berglund fired home a wrister from a tight angle to tie the game.
There was no further scoring – but the shoot-out turned into something special. The teams shared 38 attempts; Dinamo youngster Patriks Zabusovs made five attempts of his own, scoring once, only to finish on the losing side when Maxim Salakhov settled the outcome. It was the longest shoot-out ever involving a KHL team; the previous record, 36 shots, also involved Dinamo Riga in a 3-2 win over Lokomotiv in 2016/17.
Dinamo Riga 1 Neftyanik Almetyevsk 2 SO (0-0, 1-1, 0-0, 0-0, 0-1)
Goals: 0-1 Ugolnikov (Patrikeyev, 29:09 PP); 1-1 J Berglund (Lipsbergs, Balinskis, 32:08 PP); 1-2 Salakhov (65:00, game-winning shot).
Goalies: Tretyak – Andronov (Korobov)
Photo: Official site of Dinamo Riga