The fourth and final meeting between Dinamo Riga and Torpedo Nizhny-Novgorod to close out the 2021 and to look for signs of things to come.
Dinamo Riga traveled to visit Torpedo side fresh off of a loss against Avangard Omsk team in-game where they had a 3:0 lead which was quickly deleted to hand them a loss at home for the final home game of the year. Torpedo meanwhile, is fighting for a playoff spot but came into the game on a two-game losing streak which they looked to snap as soon as possible to get back on a winning path. In the previous three meetings, Torpedo managed to get a victory in one of them with a score of 3:1, while Riga got themselves two W’s in the column when they managed to beat their opponent twice 2:1 and 4:3 (shootout) respectively.
The visitors traveled without a bunch of players as their injury issues continued - Petr Tiivola, Nerijus Alisauskas, Gunars Skvorcovs, Alexander Protopovich, Reece Scarlett, Daniels Berzins, Arsen Khisamutdinov, Kristaps Sotnieks un Oskars Cibulskis remained at home. Nevertheless, Riga would look to continue their point-streak.
In a game of many scoring chances and goals, Dinamo Riga pulled off a 4:3 victory in overtime to finish off 2021.
‘’We really wanted to win this game. We prepared well as this was the final game of the year. The boys fought hard from the beginning to the end. Unfortunately, as the game went on we lost two players. Of course, I have to give honors to Julius Hudacek who played an extremely great match today. I’m thankful for the guys. I also want to wish everyone a Happy New Year.’’ Vladimir Krikunov said at the post-game conference.
Two goals within 34 seconds
A testy beginning of the game with both sides controlling the puck but the goalies weren’t tested as much. Rudolf Cerveny took the first penalty of the game for what seemed to be an accidental holding call allowing the special teams to step on the ice. Torpedo tried many combinations but was left with no dangerous scoring chances as Dinamo showcases exceptional defensive structure while shorthanded.
Dinamo took charge after their time on the penalty kill but the game was stopped as Mikhail Orlov was on the ice in visible pain after colliding with one of the opposing players. The player was visibly shaken up and had to be helped off the ice and taken to the locker room after hitting his head against the boards.
The home side struck first to put themselves up by a goal - the puck flew towards the net and floated in front of Miele to battle in front and score the go-ahead goal. Dinamo wasted absolutely no time and answered right back - Dinamo’s fourth line set things up for Gints Meija who scored his 11th point of the season just 34 seconds after a goal was conceded
The action on the ice didn’t end there either - Gints Meija was sent to the penalty box for interference giving Torpedo an option to regain the lead - the joint effort of defense and Julius Hudacek kept things at the level as Meija returned to the ice. Two penalties in a row Torpedo gave their visitors a one-goal lead - a battle for the puck in front of the net and Lauris Darzins swept it in to set the score at 2:1.
Torpedo take the lead but Dinamo follow up to level
Both sides stepped on the ice a little hot-headed which led to some trouble on the ice. Edgars Kulda went to attack an opposing player and that turned out to be a boarding call which led to some fists being thrown around between the teams. He was the only player that got an assignment to the penalty box in the situation. Man advantage finally gave Torpedo some great scoring chances and that resulted in a tie. A perfect cross-crease from Miele to Agostino, who was left all alone to cash in on the opportunity.
Not long after Torpedo had also gotten themselves ahead in the game - a very convincing control of the puck gave Ilya Fedotov the time and space to shoot a wicked wrister past Hudacek who couldn’t see anything and two players were battling for position in front of him. Riga had lost two goals in the second but they were also left without Karlis Cukste, who fell and appeared to have injured his leg as he went straight off to the room.
Not even five minutes in Dinamo had their shot to tie the game - a penalty to Torpedo’s Miele led to a man advantage but the most dangerous chance was the one with the short playing sides involvement - a very dangerous two-on-one but Hudacek managed to stop the shot.
Following the goal, the game seemed to have slowed down with both sides playing a lot more in the netrual zone of the rink. Penalties were exchanged as the period approached the end but not much came out of them. On equal terms, Dinamo however, managed to once again assure that a tie would be reached in the game. Torpedo failed to clear the puck on a few of their occasions and Martins Karsums with a simple jab towards the net leveled the score as he went for the far side of the net.
The goalless third brings overtime
If things showed what was coming in the third it was goals and potentially Dinamo being the threat as they outshot their opponent with 21-12. Despite the expectations, Torpedo started off better. The visiting side had to organize their defense in order to survive the offensive push and Hudacek did have to get involved in most of the attacking threats. Once Riga got going they had two superb scoring chances in a row but this time Tikhorimov was amazing.
The game continued to show an advantage for Torpedo as the time clock reached the mid-point mark of the period. The home team attacked even more while Dinamo searched for something to counter with. Ziyat Paigin came very close had a superb opportunity with five left on the clock but luckily for Dinamo, Hudacek was able to move in his crease to put out the fire. The goalie seemingly played the best period of his Dinamo career to keep the score tied.
The end of the third period brought chances for Dinamo, the best one was for Martins Karsums who was left all alone in front of the net but the puck flew up high and into the netting behind the goal. A winner couldn’t be decided in regulation which meant that each side would get a point.
Dinamo controlled the puck for the entirety of overtime and the unlikely hero came up big for his team - young Patriks Ozols scored the most important goal of the game - all of a sudden he was up-front and from the right side threw the puck into the net to finish off the year with a goal and two points for his team.
‘’We began playing well, then in the second we allowed to goals against and we went down 2:3. Somehow we got one back and the third we managed to only defend. In OT however, we scored. It wasn’t easy for us to play a man down but we went out there to fight and block shots.’’ young Ozols described the game. ‘’I and Poirier went on a two-on-one, I was thinking to dump the puck towards the net, the puck hit defensemen’s leg and bounced back to me and I simply put it into an empty net. After a long sixty-minute battle