It’s not been an easy season for Dinamo Riga, with the Latvian team struggling at the foot of the Western Conference throughout. But, in recent weeks, there are at least some signs of a better future for the club following the emergence of several younger players.
Friday’s game at Jokerit underlined the point. Oskars Batnja, 22, got his first KHL goal; Emils Gegeris, 18, who opened his KHL account with two goals at Spartak on Tuesday, was on the scoresheet again as Batnja collected an assist to move his points tally to five for the season. Goalie Mantas Armalis, a relative veteran at the age of 25, reminded once again of his potential as he collected his third career victory in his 10th KHL appearance. The Lithuanian native made 30 saves on the night.
Admittedly, there was a role for experience as well. Dinamo’s decisive goals came late in the game from Mikelis Redlihs and Miks Indrasis, two players with long and distinguished careers for club and country. The winning goals came as Dinamo got a 5-on-3 power play, the second, from Indrasis, was scored into an empty net.
The high-scoring finish was in contrast with an opening period that was dominated by several unforced errors at both ends. But in the second half of the game, the goals started coming. Olli Palola put Jokerit in front only for Batnja to tie it up. And the scoring exploded late in the game. Gegeris made it 2-1 for Dinamo in the 55th minute, but Pekka Jormakka replied right away. However, two quick Finnish penalties handed Riga the initiative, and those late goals settled the outcome.