Dubuque drops WCJC opener to Latvia

OMSK, Russia – Robby Darrar scored a pair of goals, but it wasn’t enough as HC Riga upended the Dubuque Fighting Saints in the first game of the 2013 Junior Club World Cup by a score of 5-2 at the Omsk Arena Sunday. HC Riga scored the game’s final four goals and struck four times on the powerplay en route to the victory.

HC Riga scored the game’s first goal halfway through the game’s first period. On the man advantage, they worked the puck to the near side half boards. Rudolfs Maslovskis walked the puck towards the goal and fired a cross ice pass to Nikolajs Jelisejevs who one-timed a shot past Fighting Saints goaltender Arthur Brey to make it 1-0 HC Riga.

Dubuque would equalize the game with a powerplay of its own. After an original penalty on HC Riga put Dubuque on the powerplay, Karson Kuhlman drew a 5:00 major penalty when he was checked from behind into the boards. With Dubuque on a 5-on-3 advantage, Alexx Privitera made a beautiful pass from the left point to Robby Darrar on the right wing, and the Saints forward lifted a shot over a diving HC Riga netminder to tie the game. Seamus Malone also added an assist on the goal.OMSK_2011_WorldCup_PRODv

Dubuque would actually find themselves with a lead in the second period. Darrar struck for his second of the game, unassisted, off a HC Riga turnover. Dubuque’s forecheck resulted in a pass that misfired off a HC Riga forwards stick right to Darrar, who streaked in on goal and lifted a shot over goalie Nils Grinfogels glove to give the Saints a 2-1 lead.

After that point, Dubuque found themselves in the penalty box for a large part of the second period. HC Riga scored three straight goals in the game’s middle frame, with two coming on the man-advantage. After a blueline blast tied the game, Rustama Begovs, the HC Riga captain, score the eventual game-winning goal on a beautiful pass out from behind the goal. With Brey looking over his left shoulder, the puck came back to his right to an open Begovs in front who scored short side to make it 3-2 HC Riga.

Dubuque had several chances in the third period to make it a once goal game including a breakaway from Jacob Benson that was stopped by Grinfogels, but it was HC Riga that would score the lone goal of the third period on the powerplay. Jelisejevs scored his second goal of the game when an attempted pass hit a Dubuque shinguard and bounced right to him on the left side doorstep for an easy goal to make it 5-2 HC Riga.

The Fighting Saints will continue tournament play tomorrow with a game versus the Vitkovice Steel from the Czech Republic. Puck drop is slated for 3 a.m. Central Time and can be heard on Super Hits 106.1 FM and superhits.com.

Dubuque’s trip to the 2013 Junior Club World Cup in Omsk, Russia is sponsored in part by American Trust, Kwik Stop and Dairy Queen, and Mark & Cheryl Falb.

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