RIGA, Latvia - Hosts Riga 2000 lost their first game at the Continental Cup Super Final: 3-4 against Kazzinc-Torpedo. Both teams are still in run for gold together with leaders Ak Bars Kazan.
Hosts HK Riga 2000 hoped to equalise with Ak Bars to six points with another win against Kazzinc-Torpedo but the Latvians were shocked by the Kazakhs, who scored three goals in the first ten minutes.
After three minutes, Roman Starchenko was skating over half the field around three opponents to open the score with a shot between Edgars Lusins' legs. Just one minute later, Nikolai Zarzhitsky increased the score to 2-0 with his rebound after Sergei Alexandrov’s shot. Artyom Argokov seems to decide the game in favour of Kazzinc-Torpedo with his 3-0.
The Latvians, however, came back into the game in the middle twenty minutes. Having started with a five-against-three power play into the second period, Czech Tomas Chlubna’s shot from the blue line brought Riga 2000 the 3-1. Andrei Ogorodnikov scored the 4-1 for Kazzinc-Torpedo with six-versus-five skaters on the ice from a very acute ankle at 26:41 but the Latvians did not step back. At 33:21 Chlubna finished a fast attack after a great pass of Armands Berzins with the 4-2. Two minutes later Mihals Koklins scored the 4-3 - the Latvians had 24 left to equalise the game. But hey didn’t. The Kazakhs defended their one-goal margin smartly and the Latvians took too many unnecessary penalties. Riga 2000 had nearly no more scoring chance in the last period. Girts Ankipans missed the best one to equalise just a few seconds before the end of the game with a breakaway.
Thanks to Kazzinc-Torpedo’s win, three teams are still involved in the gold decision:
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- Undefeated Ak Bars Kazan just needs one more point against Riga 2000 in their clash tomorrow afternoon and would lose the tournament otherwise.
- Should Riga 2000 win the game with three points and Kazzinc-Torpedo beat Aalborg with three points, then Ak Bars, Riga 2000 and Kazzinc-Torpedo would all have six points. In this case, Riga 2000 would win the tournament with a victory of at least two goals difference - or one goal difference with at least three Riga 2000 goals scored (3-2 or higher). If Riga’s win were only 1-0, Kazzinc-Torpedo would be the winner. If the win were 2-1, then the total goal difference between Riga 2000 and Kazzinc-Torpedo would decide the winner.
- Riga 2000 would also win the tournament with any three-point victory against Ak Bars if Kazzinc-Torpedo would not grab three points against Aalborg.