Aivis Kalnins Aivis Kalnins
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Still on the road - Riga would be looking for a victory against a team that has struggled even more than they have so far. Admiral has earned just two victories in 12 matches they have played so far and for a good reason - the team was assembled towards the end of the off-season.

The Admiral team will step on the ice with a familiar face on their roster - Rihards Bukarts, who spent his previous season playing for Dinamo. For the visitor side things are pretty simple - go out and get the victory - they have played well but haven’t managed to gather points - they headed into this contest having lost previous two games. That streak had to be snapped now as the road-trip wouldn’t get any easier.

Sergei Zubov surprised early on - he had sat down many of the imports, throwing out the most Latvian based roster. Only three players on (excluding the goalies) the ice were without Latvian passports. The experiment didn’t appear to work too well early on in the game.

Not much action until about six minutes down in the first period when Berzins and Patrikeyev were sent to the box for roughing. 4-on-4 hockey opened the game up and that worked in favour for Riga. With ten minutes left in the first period Lukas Radil finally got his first goal of the season and gave his team many reasons to celebrate at once,1:0 lead for his team.

The goal scorer was really relieved to finally have gotten the goal and get the monkey off of his back - ‘’It was tough for me, I had a lot of chances, lots of empty nets, a couple of posts, I’m really happy with the goal. I needed to calm down a little bit and I hope in the end it matters. It was teamwork to help me score, a lot of guys like to pass me the puck and they hope and wish for me that I will score and now I did.’’

The least surprising of things you can expect from Riga was Martins Karsums playing hard, physical hockey. One of his attempts ended up being called as a boarding minor. Admiral had their fair share of opportunities but Riga survived the penalty kill. The visitor side forced Admiral players to block shots one after another but the score remained unchanged as the first period ended.

Early in the second both sides were eager to to show everything they can and even more which summarised into another roughing trip to the penalty box for each side. First half of the second period didn’t bring much 5-on-5 action as Vladislav Ushenin was penalised for hooking yet neither side could score. Riga controlled the game attacking aggressively forcing Dmitry Lugin to trip up Gunars Skvorcovs - Riga didn’t score and that hurt them big time - Ushenin managed to tie the game up and with no surprise - period was closed out with another two minute roughing penalty for both sides.

Tensions were high and the third promised to be nervous - all signs were there, a tie on scoreboard, emotions earlier in the game and both sides willing to earn two points. Riga made the move first with Alisauskas heading to the box for slashing, giving Admiral a lengthy 4-on-3 power-play time but score remained the same - tied at one a piece.

Admiral kept applying pressure, creating chances in the offensive zone trying everything to get the puck past Mattsson the second time but he was sharp and stopped everything that came at him. When Riga had the puck an error was quickly made, either a pass was too hard or too short, sometimes Admiral players are pressing so hard that there was no way to successfully exit or enter the zone.

What could be the final chance presented itself when Lauris Darzins came close to getting his team up by a goal - he was tripped by Khamidullin. Riga finally broke through to regain their lead - Oskars Cibulskis shot from the blue-line and with loads of traffic in-front the puck was in the net - 2:1 lead for Dinamo with 2:28 left in the game. In the end Johan Mattsson had to be spectacular once again in order to bring his team two points but he managed to do it and Dinamo Riga could finally celebrate having earned important points on the road with two more road games ahead.

Lukas Radil was really hyped after the game pointing out that this victory was a team-effort: “I think in the last couple games we started working like a team, blocking shots a lot. I think we deserve this win and I’m really happy. I'm used to having tough games like before but we need points. We showed our faces and showed how we can win. It feels really good’’

Next up, Sibir Novosibirsk and Radil knows exactly what has to be done in order to get more points: ‘’Sibir will be a really good team, they have offensive power. But we are in good shape. We still need wins and we will make sure to win the game. We just have to keep playing the way we did today.’’

Coach Sergei Zubov was caught with a smile during the post-game press conference: ‘’We earned a hard fought victory. We were ready to battle from the very first minute of the game, the players really understood our game plan.’’ Zubov said. ‘’During the game it was an unyielding battle. Our power-play worked once again. This was a real team victory and I’m really happy about that.

Zubov also admitted that he was a little surprised that the team played so well given how much strength and emotions were left on the ice against former opponent - Amur.

‘’If the players feel fresh then we always try to control the puck and try to attack. The best defense is offense and it’s not a secret to anyone’’ he finished off.


Aivis Kalnins Aivis Kalnins
exclusive for khl.ru

Related clubs

Admiral (Vladivostok) Admiral (Vladivostok)
Dinamo (Riga) Dinamo (Riga)
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