Alexander Salak secured his first victory as Dinamo Riga goalie after backstopping a success at home to Traktor. The Czech international had allowed 11 goals in his two previous appearances for the club but was in far better form today to help the Latvians claim a third win in four games. Girts Ankipans and his team are still at the foot of the Western Conference, but Dinamo is now just three points adrift of the playoff places.
Salak made 34 saves for his shut-out and produced a performance that suggests he is approaching his peak once again after arriving in Riga without the benefit of a proper pre-season and without having played anywhere early in the season.
Dinamo went in front early in the second period with a goal right after a successful penalty kill. Mikelis Redlihs emerged from the box and chased down a Traktor defenseman behind the net. That prompted a hasty clearance which gave Brandon McMillan the chance to intercept and pick out Lauris Darzins at the back door to beat Vasily Demchenko.
And the host increased its lead in the third period when Gints Meija fired home a pass from Roberts Mamcics to make it 2-0 at the end of a 5-on-3 power play. Colton Gillies played a key role here, screening Demchenko as Meija’s shot came in. That secured Dinamo’s second victory over Traktor: earlier this month the team picked up a 4-3 verdict in Chelyabinsk despite Tomas Hyka’s hat-trick.