While the KHL was put on a week-long pause due to an international break in the calendar Dinamo has gone through some massive changes. One of the brightest stars of the season, Johan Mattsson was traded to Avtomobilist. Riga brought in Vladislav Gross as a replacement while also up-front adding Arsen Khisamutdinov.
Neither of Riga’s additions dressed for the game. Line-up had changed massively following a week of conditioning practices. Krikunov placed Poirier on the first line with Darzins and Jelisejevs. Julius Hudacek would start in goal.
Dinamo Riga attacked and attacked well against short staffed Minsk squad but it wasn’t enough which handed them a proper beating with a score of 1:4.
“We didn’t take the opportunities when we had the chance. Although we didn’t have many of them, a pair did come for us but we could finish. We earned an unnecessary penalty that left us down by two men. Nowadays specials teams are an important and mostly deciding factor. We couldn’t score five-on-five nor four-on-four. The first line moved the puck well but the puck just didn’t want to find the back of the net. You can’t win without scoring” Krikunov said after the game.
A meaningful derby between the sides couldn’t start without a hiccup. The game was delayed due to issues with Minsk’s line-up. As the game began the guest side started playing keep-away hockey. Both Dinamo’s tried to create opportunities, yet no goals came off straight off the bat. Hunter Shinkaruk had the best opportunity but nobody was close enough to cash in on a rebound. Freibergs followed up with a shot from the blue-line but it was no good.
In a span of 12 seconds Dinamo Riga received two minor penalties, Lauris Darzins went off for tripping, and Meija got called for cross-checking. Minsk started their offensive run that lead to the first goal - Vladislav Yeryomenko put his team up by a goal on a two-man advantage. The remainder of the second penalty was killed off and both sides could return to even strength.
Minsk kept on going and created chances. Riga did survive the first wave but the return was way too hard for them and Kirill Voronin scored a beauty after making a pirouette to open up the space for himself to then put the puck into the bottom corner of the net.
Early in the second once again it was back and forth hockey giving both teams a way to get into the grove. Riga was forced to defend once again and Julius Hudacek had to assure that the difference in the game would remain with just two goals as a very dangerous shot flew towards him.
Ilya Usov put his team down by a man receiving a two-minute cross-checking minor. The home side went on to crash the net fighting for a goal that would put them down by just a single goal, however in the time assigned with a man up it didn’t happen. Alexei Kolosov played a colossal game in his net. Nikolajs Jelisejevs stood out having two huge opportunities.
Both goalies did have to continue working as the shot intensity was high and dangerous. Reece Scarlett demonstrated his defensive abilities as Minsk attempted to create a two-on-one but he was in the right place to assure no such thing would happen.
Coldwater was poured over the home team - Roman Gorbunov entered the zone on a counter-attack and with a precise shot made it 3:0 for his team. Matt Lorito drew a penalty that would give Riga hope but that also was wasted. Karlis Cukste got himself a seat with 25 seconds left in the second giving a real shot at putting the game away for good.
The third period began with a power-play goal for Minsk assuring that the game would end in their favor. Just 57 seconds in Denis Mosalyov took the opportunity to capitalize on power-play. Not long after, Riga was once again forced to play with a man short. This time around the penalty kill was successful.
Referees continued to blow the whistle as the time wound down in the game Ralfs Freibers sat down, so did Artyom Demkov but on the scoreboard it meant nothing. Nikolaj Jelisejevs kept the trend going and also joined the festivities on the penalty bench - Minsk was just juggling everything they could at the net to assure that the score would be run up even more.
The penalties were the reason why Riga could get a goal themselves - a power-play gave the opportunity. Puck was cycled around the zone and just nine seconds in a quick pass to Lorito who threw the puck towards the net ended up on the stick of Rudolf Cerveny who cashed in to round out the game. 1:4 the final score.