The Bears arrived in Riga with just one goal – to get back at Dinamo for the last time they played in their Arena and had three important points stripped away from them, and that's exactly what they did. The game in the Riga Arena ended in 1:2 and with this win the Bears are a point closer to the playoffs. Right now they're only four points away from eighth place in the Western Conference.
The first period went by without any goals and was practically a test of the terrain. Medvescak took seven shots at the net, while Dinamo had six, and Cal Heeter made a great intervention in the 9th minute. Mevdescak's goalie made a last-minute glove save that stopped the puck.
''It was nice to score during our only power play in the game. They pressed us in the first period, but we didn't give up and didn't let them realize their chances. Dinamo is a good team which, just like us, is fighting for the playoffs so we knew that we had a tough, high-tempo game ahead of us'', briefly commented Patrick Bjorkstrand.
Just 21 seconds into the second period, Kristjanis Redlihs earned a two-minute penalty and the Bears had a new opportunity to prove themselves in what turned out to be their only power play of the evening. Ville Leino and Carle Mathieu set up the puck for Patrick Bjorkstrand, and the young forward sent it right into goalie Jeff Deslauriers' net. In the 30th minute the Bears were left without Martin St. Pierre for two minutes, and then in the 33rd Ville Leino got two minutes and a disciplinary penalty. Despite the penalty kills, Zagreb's boys managed to keep the lead until the end of the period.
''Clearly I had great timing to score. This is a big win for us and an invaluable three points'', Thomas briefly mentioned about the game against Dinamo, and then commented on their third consecutive road game ahead of them in St. Petersburg on Sunday:
''SKA is an extremely hard team. They've lost two games in a row which isn't going to make our job any easier. But, if we keep playing the way we played in Helsinki and Riga, if we play solidly, create and realize chances, then maybe we could grab a couple of points from them too.''
The home team tied the game in the 44th minute with a goal by Miks Indrasis, but Medvescak had the lead again in the 55th. With a wrong pass from Dinamo's goalie, the puck ended up in Bill Thomas' possession, and then one second later it found itself in Deslauriers' net. Thomas' goal solidified the Bears' win.
Photo: Janis Stepitis/Dinamo Riga