These two teams, both in need of victories for differing reasons, staged a roller-coaster of a game in the Latvian capital. The home team, rooted to the foot of the KHL standings, is eager to close the gap on the teams ahead of it; the visitor is battling for a playoff place in the East. International call-ups affected Dinamo’s selections, with defenseman Ondrej Vitasek linking up with the Czech team in Moscow for the Channel 1 Cup but there was a boost with the return of Denis Parshin, Riga’s third leading scorer this season.
The home roster featured 14 forwards, but in the early stages of the first period it was the defense that had the heavier workload. In the opening 10 minutes, Torpedo scored twice through Mikhail Varnakov and Anton Shenfeld. But late in the frame, Dinamo’s offensive power showed what it could do. Three goals in three minutes turned the game upside down: Miks Indrasis, and two from Roberts Bukarts, gave the Latvians a 3-2 lead to take to the first intermission.
However, Torpedo got back into the game midway through the second period when Andy Miele tied the scores. Damir Zhafyarov restored the visitor’s lead at the start of the third — after his 11-game scoring streak, the forward’s silence lasted just two fixtures before he picked up a goal and an assist here.
That was by no means the end of the story. Teenage forward Janis Svanenbergs pulled Riga level with his second of the season and, with 10 minutes on the clock, the verdict could have gone either way. The tipping point came when Kristaps Zile took a penalty and Torpedo converted that power play; Zhafyarov’s helper, Ivan Chekhovich’s goal as the youngster continued his impressive rookie season. Any remaining doubts were extinguished by an empty-net goal from Jordan Szwarz.