Victorious start to the new season

Dinamo Minsk hockey players start the 2014/15 KHL Championship by defeating the league’s newcomers — Finnish Jokerit — in an away match, overtime thriller

By Igor Leshin

Dinamo Minsk hockey players start the 2014/15 KHL Championship by defeating the league’s newcomers — Finnish Jokerit — in an away match, overtime thriller

dinamo.pngThe rivals needed little time to please the audience with goals, which were facilitated by penalties. The hosts of the ice took the lead in the 5th minute. Before this, Dinamo’s Alexander Kitarov earned a small penalty twice in a row. Meanwhile, Jokerit’s lead didn’t last long, and the first penalty was converted by the ‘Bisons’ captain, Jonathan Cheechoo. Despite the start of the season, both squads tried to play at high speed. As a result of such actions, they both had chances to score, but for some time the score didn’t change.

Jokerit’s advantage began to be felt after the middle of the second period. Several dangerous attacks against Lars Haugen’s net forced Dinamo head coach, Ľubomír Pokovič, to take a time-out. However, this didn’t stop the attacking fervour of the hosts. They continued to follow their own way and achieved success. Ryan Gunderson’s individual pass from the right wing finished with a goal to the nearest corner. However, Dinamo players didn’t lose heart. Almost immediately they received numerical advantage and again took revenge. In the rival’s zone Charles Linglet passed across the crease and hit an opponent defender’s skates from whom the puck ricocheted behind the back of Jokerit’s goalkeeper, Henrik Karlsson.

From the middle of the third period, the rivals continued to trade goals. At first, Cheechoo headed his team in front on a power-play but his action was responded with a no less resultative reaction from Petr Koukal in the equal line-ups of the squads. Later, Cheechoo fully used Atte Ohtamaa’s mistake in the middle zone who almost gave him the puck and the Canadian captain had his hat-trick. The joy of the guests wasn’t long, with the hosts conducting a powerful counterattack which again restored the balance.

Dinamo players could have snatched victory several minutes before the end of the third period when their rivals became physically tired, but failed. Moreover, during the last seconds of regular time, Paul Szczechura earned a penalty. Jokerit’s hockey players began overtime with active attacks which were successfully restrained by the Minskers. It was Tommi Huhtala who failed the Finnish club. He was sent off for holding, and Matt Ellison blasted a sharp shot from a distance put a stop to the game, setting the final score at 4:5 in favour of the ‘Bisons’.
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