Aivis Kalnins Aivis Kalnins
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The international break is over and Dinamo were set to continue their long home-stretch that hasn't been as successful as they would have wanted as they entered the game with two consecutive losses. Their opponent Admiral on the other hand is one a seven-game road trip in which they previously beat the Vityaz team. When both sides met earlier this season in Vladivostok - Riga came on top with a score of 2:1.

The lockdown in Latvia also meant that the fans could finally return to the building which seemed to have given the spark to the team - even though a limited crowd of 500 but you could hear them supporting the team and cheering on their heroes. 

During the international break Dinamo made a few key changes to their line-up. They had parted ways with goalie Matej Machovsky and added goalie Julius Hudacek. Forward Matthew Lorito was brought in as an offensive reinforcement as well as Patriks Veinbergs was recalled from HK Riga. Lorito, Veinbergs and Southorn made their debuts as the latter managed to get two points (1+1) and Peter Tiivola ticked two to get himself two goals.

In a game of special teams Riga managed to pull off a very important victory - 3:2 giving two victories in two games against the opponent.

‘’I want to thank the team for this very important victory and two points in the standings. Of course after a week long break the game was a little chaotic. We managed to get into the game well and to score an important goal to get a hard fought victory. We’re still not taking opportunities of our chances, real quality chances. At one point we had four or five in a row. We let in an unnecessary goal that we shouldn’t have but afterwards we managed to get back into the game to score in second and the third. The players that made their debuts played well. Southorn got one for himself, Edgars Kulda played well and Tiivola who has been here longer showed his leadership abilities and showed what we had been waiting for him. The week off gave us enough rest and re-energised the team. Not everything worked the way it was supposed to but we can move on and get ready for the next match’’ Valerijs Kulibaba said after the game. When asked when Hudacek could make his appearance in net he was blunt ‘’He has to practice and settle in, then we will see.’’

Two goal scorer Peter Tiivola: ‘’We played a good game. I think that in the first period we managed to play a part of it well, controlling the puck. We got two very important points. I don’t know why we couldn’t get more goals tonight. Superb opportunities were had. I’m happy that I myself got to score and the team won. During the international break we practiced well. On Thursday we have to keep going and we have to play in a similar way.’’

‘’This game was like a swing - up and down for us. I think that we did a lot of good things although we earned too many penalties. Our penalty kill was fantastic. If we wouldn’t have wasted time playing on penalty kill in my opinion the game would have gone way better’’ Southorn said.

Special teams mean action

Both teams started out in a pragmatic manner not willing to give anything up. Both sides did attempt to shoot the puck towards the net on a few occasions but nothing dangerous. A few minutes later, Admiral's Makarenko was sent to the box for holding. Riga quickly wasted their power-play opportunity as Gormley was sent to the box for interference. Riga managed to use the open ice and Peter Tiivola made 1:0 with an easy wrister as Gunars Skvorcovs sent him on a charge into the offensive zone. 

While down a man Riga defended well to assure teams would return to full strength and they would remain unharmed. Five on five hockey remained as it was prior to penalties that were handed - more action went down in the neutral zone. Riga’s great chance gave them another shot with a man up. High danger chances but Admiral somehow managed to kill off the penalty with the goalie stopping everything that he could and more.

Things seemed to be going for Dinamo but as a lighting out of blue sky the game was tied - Southorn made a crucial errors in his own end and was robbed of the puck, Vyacheslav Ushenin blasted the puck towards the net, Mattsson made the initial but a rebound from Vladislav Ushenin managed to squeak past him to even things out. Riga finished off with a too many men penalty, yet it was killed and the score remained unchanged, 1:1 after twenty.

Dinamo Riga take the lead

Having killed off a penalty to round out the first frame Riga seemed eager to get back into action to once again get the lead. They had taken the charge and controlled things on the ice - Serebryakov was the only reason the score was set at 1:1 with just five minutes in the middle frame.

Opportunity was given for Admiral to flip the table around as Mattsson got penalised for delay of the game. Soon after Ceverny followed up with a tripping penalty giving the opponents a shot at 5-on-3 but a team effort negated it.

The home side once again jumped the gun creating chances and a great one presented itself - Edgars Kulda entered the zone, dropped the puck down to Skvorcovs who got it back to Kulda who then went towards the net and quickly found a cross-creaser to Jordon Southorn who simply put the back-end of his stick and directed the puck into the empty side of the net.

Neither side appeared to be happy which eventually brought the game to 4-on-4 action. Although it all had opened up no direct issues were caused, shots were taken, goalies stood tall and it was 2:1 for Riga after forty.

The hosts seal the deal

Dinamo picked up exactly where they left off - quick pressure and just 47 seconds into the third Peter Tiivola put Riga up by two giving returning Riga fans something more to cheer for. Edgars Kulda got the puck out of the corner to the middle of the ice, two scoring chances followed and a wrap-around was the key for the puck to bounce back in front of the net so that Tiivola could get his second of the game and make it 3:1. A rare Admiral’s opportunity followed up, yet Mattsson was sharp to stop it.

With 13 minutes left in the finishing frame Lukas Radil was penalised to hand Admiral a hope to cut the lead to a single goal. Dinamo did take care of things but Admiral’s pressure rose even after the penalty. Mattsson had to make a few desperation saves in order to keep his team up by a goal in hopes to finally earn two points.

Pressurising didn’t seem like something that Dinamo couldn’t handle but a counter did bring a goal that put the game within reach for the Vladivostok side - a shot from the blue-line seemed to be tipped in and meant that game action would only become more nervous.

Another two minute penalty would give the visitors a shot to tie - Riga held on. Admiral pressed and pressed hard and even pulled the goalie for an extra attacker, a timeout was called but the hopes for a comeback were ruined with a penalty giving Riga a 3:2 victory and something for the returning fans to celebrate.

Dinamo will finish off their homestand on the Latvian countries independence day - November 18th against KHL powerhouse Ak Bars Kazan.

Aivis Kalnins Aivis Kalnins
exclusive for khl.ru

Related clubs

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