By Igor Grishin
The Dinamo Minsk hockey team boasts two victories with the same score — 3:2 — in two matches of the season’s first home series
In the first home meeting, Dinamo celebrated victory over Atlant from the Moscow Region. The hosts, who had previously lost two matches in a row, conducted the starting period utterly self-collected, creating enough dangerous moments near the rivals’ net. However, the Bisons achieved success only once, when Matt Ellison scored at the beginning of the ninth minute. The Minskers commanded the second period, but their players often made unnecessary violations and were removed from the ice rink, preventing them from increasing the score. But, in the last minute of the second period, the hosts again realised their numerical advantage and increased their lead — 2:0. In fewer than 3 minutes after the beginning of the final third of the match, the fans at the Minsk-Arena again welcomed the success of their team. The third puck was delivered by Dinamo newcomers, with Paul Szczechura scoring after a precise pass from Jonathan Cheechoo. Being three goals ahead, Dinamo settled down slightly and this advantage was used by their opponents, who twice hit the back of Lars Haugen’s net. Two minutes before the final whistle the hosts were pressurised, but managed to hold on and earn their first fully-fledged points.
Then, the Minsk-Arena hosted a match between Dinamo Minsk and one of the leaders of the Western Conference — Moscow CSKA. This meeting was almost a copy of the previous match with Atlant. At first, the hosts controlled the first half of the match effortlessly; taking the lead 3:0, but then sharply eased up and gave the initiative back to the visiting team. The opponents used this gift and reduced the gap, scoring two goals. Near the end of the final third, the hosts again violated the rules and the guests again replaced their goalkeeper with a sixth field player. Fortunately, like in the game against Atlant, the defence of the Minskers, headed by Kevin Lalande withstood this pressure.
After the match, the head coach of the winners, Ľubomír Pokovič, noted that his trainees had beaten a very strong opponent due to their total dedication, especially at the end of the game, when the CSKA players played in the majority.