Heading into this game Riga held 10th place in the West just two points shy of the play-off zone with two games in hand. Meanwhile, Sochi were further behind in 12th spot with having earned 20 points in 26 games. In the first meeting between sides this season Riga managed to beat their opponent for the first time at home with a score of 2:1, while the Sochi team answered right back with a home victory of their own - 3:2 in OT.
In a game of many chances and uncapitalised opportunities - Sochi were the better team beating Dinamo Riga with a score of 3:0.
‘’First of all I have to say that I’m sorry to our fans for the game that they saw, the result that we brought. Unfortunately we weren’t able to make the fans happy. We went out with confidence yet way too relaxed. We had moments, not bad ones but their goalie Maxim Tretyak saved his team when it was needed. We lost the belief that we could score. In the second we couldn’t pull ourselves together, in the third we once again came out to fight but the goalie was good.’’ Kulibaba said post game. When asked if Cukste’s penalty was the turning point of the game he disagreed - ‘’It was an unlucky moment, an unfortunate moment of the game. There wasn’t a big penalty, just usual two minutes, we killed it off. Our only questions can be about our forwards and the leaders of the team that couldn’t score.’’
“Start of the game was sloppy from our point of view and when we pulled ourselves together it was too late to save anything. The puck just didn’t want to go into the net. This one hurts. The breaking point was when we allowed the second and the third goal, it was just unfortunate for us. We have to forget this game, we have a practice tomorrow and then our minds will be set on the game against Jokerit, we have to win that game and everything will be alright” Patricks Ozols said.
Sochi started out aggressive as one would expect. Three dangerous moments early on yet shots and passes were blocked by Riga’s defensive squad. Extensive attack from Sochi caused issues for Dinamo Riga allowing them to have counter-attacks from time to time. Daniels Berzins and his line had the best one early on - the Latvian forward was all alone vs the goalie but the puck bounced off of the pad of Maxim Tretyak and went wide.
Visitors did keep pressuring and that resulted in a goal that gave them a 1:0 lead, a shot from the blue-line was redirected into the net by Nikita Zorkin just five minutes into the period. It was a wake-up call for Riga that opened up the game giving them dangerous opportunities and puck control. Young Patriks Zabusovs got the puck in the offensive zone and had a one-on-one battle but it was no good.
Riga started pressuring even more but their offensive streak was cut short as Hunter Shinkaruk was assigned to the penalty box - his team however, killed the penalty. Sochi once again seemed to have gotten the hang of things but the result remained unchanged - 1:0 after twenty.
Dinamo had woken up after the first period and started aggressive. Most of the early second was spent in the offensive zone. Rudolf Ceverny had a superb chance to reach a tie but Tretyak once again demonstrated that it would be tough to beat him. After the opportunity both sides were pushing each other around which led to penalties for both sides, however, Karlis Cukste tried too hard and received two minutes for roughing as well as a twenty minute penalty for abuse of on-ice official and unsportsmanlike conduct.
Four on four hockey meant nothing and as both sides returned to full strength Kirill Petkov made it 2:0 after receiving a cross-crease pass from Amir Garayev. 11 seconds later JC Lipon’s revenge came upon his former team - a shot towards the net and Martin Bakos caught the rebound - all of a sudden it was a 3:0 lead for Sochi team. Dinamo had their shot to do something on two power-plays but they weren’t capitalised upon.
The opposing pressure only grew towards the end of the second period - the Sochi side were looking for more while Dinamo had to make sure that nothing else went in so that they could salvage the game down the road. Only with two left Riga once again seemed like the better team and held the puck in the offensive zone but chances didn’t come. The hosts were down by two after two periods.
Dinamo Riga once again looked hopeful and were looking to finally get their first goal of the game. Their pressure meant another shot at man advantage. Hunter Shinkaruk had a chance entering the zone and shooting from the right side, the puck rebounded in front of the goalie but nobody was there to tuck it in. Another opportunity wasted.
Aggressive game from the home side but that was stopped with twelve left in the third - Rudolf Ceverny went for a hard hit that turned out to be a boarding penalty. Sochi once again went all in but Johan Mattsson had his word to say deactivating their power-play.
No matter what happened Dinamo were still eager to get at least a single goal - many of players were ready to take things upon themselves - young Ozols tried best he could to score himself and even tried to assist his teammates but nothing appeared to be going past Tretyak. With two minutes left Daniels Berzins was sent to the box for roughing - no goals were scored but it changed nothing - a 3:0 victory for the visitors.