Dream start for Riga 2000

Latvian hosts slam Aalborg 7-2 and entertained their fans

04.01.2008
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Riga's Kristaps Sotnieks tries to score against Aalborg goalie Peter Hirsch. Photo: Zigismunds Zalmanis

RIGA, Latvia – HK Riga 2000 had a magnificent start into its first-time hosted Continental Cup Super Final. The Latvian champion won 7-2 against Danish top team Aalborg AK and convinced their fans with offensive hockey.

The Danes, who played with three Latvian players, were reasonably disappointed after their first game. The underdog and last qualified team hoped to have the easiest game at the beginning but could only keep up with the hosts for a few minutes. Forward Dejan Matejic made use of a misunderstanding in Riga’s defensive department and shocked the fans with the lead for Aalborg after just 82 seconds into the game. But the Latvians were only struggling during the first minutes. The efficient and skilled forwards of Riga 2000 did not need much time to change the game in favour of themselves.

Juris Stals equalised at 7:16 and just 48 seconds later the fans could celebrate the lead thanks to Tomas Chlubnas breakaway while being in power play. At 13:01, Raimonds Danilics got a pass from Stals while standing alone in front of Aalborg and Team Denmark netminder Peter Hirsch to move the puck around him into the net. The disaster of the Danish defence continued in the seconds period with one more of totally five power play goals of Riga 2000 at 21:24 and an own goal at 25:54.

Aalborg changed goalies but that didn’t prevent the Latvians to score two more goals. “We had a lucky start with a cheap goal but didn’t make our way tonight,” Aalborg head coach Jarmo Tolvanen pointed out, “they played quick and smart and were hungrier.” Tolvanen also explained that the team was too tired because they had many games recently.

Riga 2000 could be happy with its performance and hopes, thanks to the entertaining game, to be attracting more than just 1,050 fans for the next games. “It’s a good start and I’m very satisfied about the game and team. We won the game because we wanted more than Aalborg,” said Riga 2000 goalie Edgars Lusins.

Photo gallery of the game

Click here for the complete Continental Cup Super Final coverage

MARTIN MERK


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