Dinamo Riga entered the game following a game in which they should’ve taken two points from, yet didn’t allow their closest rival right now to leave the Latvian capital with the points in their pockets. Torpedo arrived in Riga up-beat having won the previous few contests. The good news for the hosts was the fact had already met twice this season - on both occasions, they managed to come out on top. An important game that could set the tone for things to come.
Vladimir Krikunov and his men had a busy morning skate to wake the team up and assure that they would be ready to go once the puck would drop at 5 pm local time. Massive changes in the line-up with Poirier and Shinkaruk were left out of the game. Hudacek assumed the goaltending duties.
Day and night - that’s how Dinamo Riga’s last two games can be compared but another one goal outting hands them a 1:3 loss against Torpedo as team heads into the international break.
‘’I want to apologise to our fans. We’re playing terrible. We are not ready phisically and I regret that when I arrived I didn’t start working with the team on the conditioing straight away. Today we were two times worse than the opponent. The young players played good. They scored the only goal. Afterwards we couldn’t capitalise on the power-play. What kind of rest can we talk about? Rest won’t bring the results. We have to continue working. One day off and then it’s time to get back to work.’’ Vladimir Krikunov was visibly determined that the team would have to start working in order to get the results.
The most important thing early in the game was to wake up and be prepared for whatever either side could throw at you. Fast pace, careful defensive game that held the puck in the neutral zone for players to battle things out. An occasional spark appeared to show Torpedo’s advantage - Zhafyarov attempted to beat Hudacek from close range with a back-hander but it was instantly turned away.
It was five minutes in already when Riga got their first proper shot on net - Gunars Skvorcovs with an easy one that gave Kochetkov absolutely nothing to worry about. Shots on goal showed a demanding lead for Torpedo 5-1. No sign of them stopping as they looked really dangerous while their opponent’s only thing that happened was a defensive effort.
No close-range attempts whatsoever for the home side and a clear lack of chances at the net. All the shots that happened were from far away with any dangerous component on them. All of a sudden Arena Riga got loud in celebrations - Gunars Skvorcovs was back in action and gave them their go-ahead goal. The number 13 went to the middle of the offensive zone and wristed a perfect snipe into the net.
Torpedo was angry and trying to get back, however, their attempts were quickly stopped as Mark Marin received a two-minute penalty for hooking at the very end of the period. 1:0 for Dinamo Riga after twenty minutes of action where their offensive effort lacked but still gave them an advantage.
Early in the second Riga had woken up and looked much better, especially due to their early man advantage. As the penalty kill ended the edge remained in favor of Riga - Daniels Berzins with a perfect opportunity from a close range which once again was defused by Kochetkov. Whatever went down in the dressing room clearly had helped and now they were the better team on the ice.
Five into the second a penalty was awarded to Svanenbergs which led to Torpedo’s first power-play. The puck was moved quickly and well but the efforts weren’t good enough to reach a tie. The penalty woes didn’t end there Brandon Gormley earned himself a trip to the penalty box which gave a tie in the game - a quick pass from the blue-line which stayed on the left side for it then to be directed towards the net and Ivan Chekhovich managed to finally beat Hudacek.
Another penalty was experienced for once on each side but the score stuck at 1:1 as the time on the clock ran down. The game itself had changed a little but it was still telling that Torpedo was the slightly better side. Slightly better meant that at the very end of the first Daniels Berzins would end up in the box and this time Marek Hrivik punished the Dinamo team putting the puck in an empty side of the net. 2:1 game after two periods.
Unfortunately for Riga the story could end quickly as early in the first two penalties were given two Riga - hooking call against Tiivola and a high-sticking penalty for Zile. The 5-on-3 meant that the third goal would be scored by Torpedo. Damir Zhafyarov attempted to pass to his teammate in front but Gormley’s stick was in the way and it assured that the puck would fly high and into the far corner of the net.
The teams went back to playing on full strenght and Torpedo’s dominace only grew. Only thing for Dinamo to do was to dump pucks out of their defensive zone. For a long time they couldn’t be spotted attacking. Luckily enough on a rare occasion they went for it and the activity drew a penalty. The defence was sound therfore Torpedo’s lead stayed intact.
All of a sudden the home side seemingly improved and went on to try and create something but once again a good spirit was shutdown by a penalty that clearly wasn’t supposed to come. Torpedo finished off the game strong taking two points against Riga for the first time this season with a final score of 1:3.
Ralfs Freibergs on the game: ‘’The better team won today, we lost in all aspects of the game. The opponent scored on power-play. We lacked freshness. There’s a saying - you can work as much as you want but there has to be a result.’’