Two goals from Teemu Pulkkinen and a heroic goal-tending performance from Jhonas Enroth lifted Dinamo off the foot of the Western Conference table with a hard-fought win at Avangard. The Finnish forward moved to 14 goals and 21 points for the season while the Swedish goalie made 42 saves, including 17 as he withstood a third-period siege from the home team.
A week ago in Minsk these teams played out a hard-fought battle, with Avangard needing a last-gasp equalizer from Sven Andrighetto before edging a shoot-out verdict. And Dinamo once again belied its lowly status by posing plenty of questions when it met last season’s Gagarin Cup finalist once again in Balashikha.
Admittedly, though, the opening goal suggested that Avangard was set fair for a good afternoon. Dinamo was on the power play but when Slava Voynov intercepted the puck his charge up the ice finished with Kirill Semyonov opening the scoring. The Belarusian response was immediate, with Pulkkinen tying the scores on the same, eventful power play. The rest of the opening frame was both even and action-packed. Avangard had a great chance to regain the lead when Taylor Beck took a penalty shot, but Jhonas Enroth won the duel and the forward fired wide of the target.
In the second period the home team had the better of the play but was unable to turn that slight advantage into a second goal. And then, at the end of the frame, the game tipped in Dinamo’s favor. First, Pulkkinen put the visitor in front when he rounded off a counter-attack. Then, in the last minute, Pavel Dedunov was ejected from the game for kicking.
Avangard killed that major penalty and steadily put the pressure onto the visitor. The host had three power play opportunities and kept Enroth’s net under siege, but the Swede was equal to everything that came his way until the last minute. Even then, when Semyonov beat him for a second time, the post came to Dinamo’s rescue as Craig Woodcroft’s team secured a valuable victory.