RIGA - Dinamo Riga gave their home fans something to cheer about with a 4-2 victory over Novokuznetsk Metallurg on Tuesday evening.
Following their below-par performance on Sunday it was a small crowd of just 4,270 who turned up at Arena Riga to see arguably Dinamo Riga’s finest home performance of the season, lead brilliantly by the Redlihs brothers.
Dinamo Riga got off to their quickest start of the season when Krisjanis Redlihs was the recipient of a back flick from Janis Sprukts in the 29th second. The pass caught Metallurg off guard as they reacted too late to shutting down the wide open Redlihs whose shot went straight past the Metallurg goalie Sergei Bobrovski. It was Krisjanis Redlihs in the right place again in the 12th minute when a sustained period of pressure in the Metallurg third paid dividends for Dinamo Riga. They were to come close on two other occasions courtesy of some sharp passing but on those occasions Bobrovski was up to the task in goal.
The second period failed to produce any goals but that was not to say that both teams did not have their chances. Dinamo Riga’s best opportunities were coming courtesy of Alexandrs Nizivijs and Sprukts who continued to probe at Bobrovski throughout the period. At the other end Metallurg’s best chances came late in the period on a two minute power-play but Martin Prusek was proving that his injury sustained in the previous game was nothing too serious.
Mikelis Redlihs was not about to let his older brother have the limelight to himself, joining him on the score sheet seven minutes into the final period. Some sloppy play by the Metallurg defensemen was swooped upon by Mikelis Redlihs who made no mistake in adding the home side’s third.
Prusek looked like he could have been heading for his first shut-out of the season before a lapse of concentration by Dinamo Riga following their third goal saw Aleksej Krichenkov sneak one back for the visitors. This was followed by a period of strong Dinamo Riga offence when Nizivijs and Marcel Hossa both went close to scoring their team’s fourth. Martins Cipulis was also unlucky in the 14th minute when his superb slap shot was barely stopped by Bobrovski.
As the final minutes of the game began to approach Dinamo Riga fans were forced to the edge of their seats as Aleksander Golovin managed to sneak in Metallurg’s second goal on a well played move around the back of the net in the 17th minute. Metallurg again came close a few seconds late as the nerves began to tingle.
Fortunately for Dinamo Riga, Metallurg were not able to force the equaliser. In a last gasp attempt they pulled Bobrovski from the ice giving them an extra skater. With just 34 seconds left the stunt backfired when Hossa forced the turnover and quickly moved down the ice to put the puck in the back of the net.
It capped of a fine night for Dinamo Riga who dominated all facets of the game. Following the match Matallurg trainer Dmitri Pahomenko gave credit to Dinamo Riga for the fast display of hockey they had produced. Juliuss Suplers was also a lot more appraising of his troops than he has been in other press conferences of late, complimenting his team on a very good performance. It is a much needed win for Dinamo Riga who will now be hoping for a larger crowd when they take on lowly Sibirj in two nights time.