Jokerit Helsinki 5
Dinamo Riga 6 (SO)
It’s been a week of big comebacks for Dinamo Riga, but Saturday’s incredible recovery from 0-5 down was something special.
After 40 minutes of play the Latvians’ cause seemed hopeless, trailing by a huge margin against a Jokerit team renowned for its defensive discipline. And yet, two days after Dinamo clawed back a 2-4 deficit in the last 80 seconds before beating Avtomobilist in overtime, the incredible happened: five unanswered goals in the third period tied the game and sent us into extras once again.
And once again Dinamo came out on top, this time in a shoot-out thanks to Lauris Darzins’ game-winner.
Mikelis Redlihs got the fight back rolling. He scored 24 seconds into the final stanza, perhaps unnerving a home team that must have assumed the game was effectively over. His second, in the 47th minute suggested a hint of respectability for Dinamo, but it wasn’t until Steven Seigo made it 3-5 with eight minutes to play that the game was really back on.
And how. Jokerit hit the self-destruct button: Tim Sestito scored within a minute on a delayed power play and Topi Jaakola departed the stage 16 seconds later with a 5+20 for kneeing. That was the final invitation Dinamo needed. Krisjanis Redlihs tied the scores on 54:07; Dinamo scored three goals in less than two minutes to force overtime.
That echoed Jokerit’s second-period blitz. The home team led 1-0 on a Philip Larsen goal when Eriks Sevchenko took a 2+2 for high sticks. Jesse Joensuu and Niklas Hagman scored on that power play, and while Riga tried to recover Niko Kapanen struck before Joensuu got his second. In total it was four goals in four minutes to make it 5-0 before another dramatic Latvian recovery.