After having won two in a row Dinamo Riga was set to take on a familiar face - Bob Hartley returned to Riga as the home team looked to extend their winning streak.
Dinamo side entered the game fresh off of a shootout victory against Kunlun in which they managed to squeak in a shootout victory, despite dominating on the ice and in the shot department. Prior to arriving in Riga, Omsk’s side had defeated the Jokerit team and now was riding a three-game winning streak as they finish off their two-game road trip. An important game for both sides as the hosts certainly would like to upset former Latvian national team coach and Hartley himself eager to take away points from a known opposing squad. When both sides met earlier this season Avangard shocked their opponent with a quick turnaround victory with a score of 4:1.
The visitors have an impressive number of hot players while Riga would have to look for consistency and continue their good trend to control the game. Scoring opportunities certainly were quite enough in the past but capitalization has struggled. For Riga task is simple - to move out of the last place in their conference, while Avangard would like to climb the standings on their respective side.
“It’s not nice to lose a game when you’re up 3:0. Unfortunately, one of our lines allowed all three goals. The young players made me happy. Unfortunately, we once again got injuries. The boys didn’t play bad. Filips Buncis had a chance to end things but it wasn’t his time. The boys tried, they fought. We had opportunities, but we gotta be happy with a point.” Vladimir Krikunov said post game.
Zile demonstrates his slapper
An active battle to begin the game - Nikolajs Jelisejevs was the first player to get a shot off for either team. Dinamo’s woes started early as Gints Meija was sent to the penalty box giving Omsk a shot at a man advantage. One of the most dangerous power-play squads in the league had many shots at Hudacek’s net but the penalty was killed and the scored remained tied.
Once both sides returned to full strenght Omsk continued to control the puck more, however neither side could get many shots off. Defensive game dominated for the most part. Visting side kept staying in offensive zone but Gints Meija had a few tricks on his sleeve entering the zone in a beautiful manner to find Kristaps Zile who had an unsaveable slap-shot to give Dinamo a 1:0 lead.
One goal lead didn’t feel like it was enough and Riga searched for more opportunities.They were had and Omsk had to sit down and assure their defense was tight that assured for the first period to end with a 1:0 lead for the home side.
Two goals set both teams further apart
Avangard did seem to be better early on in the second frame but Dinamo were against their efforts - Nikolajs Jelisejevs with a cheatcode of a dump out of his zone by the board for Janis Svanenbergs who went ahead towards the opposing net dangling the puck on the backhand to put it over Hrubec to double things down.
Omsk tried to find a spark offensively and kept going at it but it was hard for them to find that first goal they really needed. Hudacek saved his side after a shot that changed the direction on more than one occasion. Viktor Svedberg with the best chance that was turned aside.
Riga were determined to run down the score and Kristaps Zile returned the favour to Gints Meija, a quick pass that allowed the latter to enter the zone and with a basic shot send the puck under the glove of Omsk’s goalie to force Bob Hartley a goalie change - twenty year old Andrei Mishurov assumed the duties in goal. As the period came to a close Dinamo’s power-play had a shot at operating but not much came from it leading to a 3:0 game after two.
Avangard pull off a comeback
Both sides came out aggressive to begin the third period as both Cerveny and Knight got themselves an assignment to the penalty box. Both penalties ended with no changes on the scoresheet. Puck control remained rather eventful as teams decided to share it. Avangard however, had the best scoring opportunities.
An unnecessary penalty by Jere Karjalainen sent Riga to be down by a man allowing Omsk to get their first goal of the game. Knight won the face-off, Gritsyuk got the puck to Oliwer Kaski who with a lightning bold of a shot beat Hudacek for the first goal of the game for their team.
Avangard answered right back with a penalty of their own - a breakway was close to happening but as the puck wasn’t received right on his stick a tripping minor happened that assured Dinamo to have a chance to regain a three goal lead - a goal wasn’t found.
Omsk pulled things together and assured that they would get three goals for a tie that led the game to overtime.
Buncis wins… but he doesn’t
The winner of the game was decided in overtime. An eventful ending was granted, but it upset the home fans. Filips Buncis skated alone towards and it appeared that he had scored, he celebrated the goal but the things took a turn - Korban Knight all of a sudden was on the other end to score and grant his team a 4:3 OT victory. A video review was launched and it confirmed - Avangard earned two points.
“Avangard started playing well, our defense worked especially good. We managed to use our chances to score goals. We were lucky in the first forty minutes. We couldn’t keep up to them in the final third. We allowed three goals, and in OT they were more lucky. We didn’t take our shot but they did.” Svanenvergs added.