Latvian Hawks showed their real potential against the highflying Dublin Rams in a hard fought battle and end-to-end contest in a very noisy and packed Dundalk Ice Dome. The Hawks took an early lead from goal ace Aigars Brenis at 5.33 of the opening period during a Hawks powerplay.
Aigars scored his and the Hawks second with only 6.01 gone in the first period. The Rams’ Brandon Chalazan finally woke up the Dubliners’ scoring machine bringing them back into the game with a score at 7.18 with assist from Tomas Pactina.
The Hawks other goal ace Victors Serdjukous put the Latvians back in front on the powerplay at 9.18 to make the score 3-1 restoring the Hawks’ two goal cushion. The Rams came right back with a score from James Diver, assist Radek Ohneiser followed by Tomas Burdys, assist Andrew Moriarty to tie the game 3-3
In the closing minutes of the opening period the Hawks’ Serdjukous got his second of the night and the Latvians fourth to end the period 4-3.The second period was a Rams dominated middle stanza.
The Rams scored from Tomas Pactina assisted by Paul Silny putting the game back level at four each. The man of the match for the Hawks, Aigars Brencis, got his hat trick at 31.30 assisted by Serdjukous. Then it was the Rams with Tomas Burdys scoring a short handed score with an assist from Adrian Huang followed by the go ahead goal for the Dubliners from Brett Dilabbio and assisted by James Gallinger and a 6-5 lead for the Rams.
The final period saw the Hawks tie the score at 42.02 through Jozefs Hruska, quickly followed by the Rams re-taking the lead from David Clarke assisted by Andrew Gannon at 45.31 on a power play. The IIHA President Cliff Saunders made a strong showing on the blue line often quarterbacking his Rams squad from defence.
With the lead see-sawing back and forward the Hawks tied the game through Gaidis Darzins assisted by Mark Bowes. The winner from the Rams came from Brent Trull assisted by Andrew Gannon. An insurance goal from the Dubliners was scored by Paul Silny to cement the victory from the Rams. 9-7.
The Rams coach Roy Cooper stated after the game, “I Thought we played a better game as a team against the Hawks than we did against the Dundalk Bulls. We have three strong lines with a fourth not far behind. I rotated them fairly equally. Their (Hawks) top line must have logged forty-five to fifty minutes ice time and were hard to contain.
Finally we have got our full compliment of players now both on the ice and practising together, which means we can only get better. With eighteen skaters and a goalie we are working hard to chase the Bulls for the title. And it is still within our grasp to chase them down till the last game of the schedule to hopefully win the league,” concluded Cooper.
On the other side of the rink the Hawks played a very convincing game backed up by the Brencis, Serdjukous and Jumbergs line. Their ace play-maker and scorer, Aigars Brencis, was a class act and played professionally back in Latvia for Riga 2000 in the Latvian top league. It is understood he is trying to get another rink built in the Midlands area of Ireland with the help of his local TD.
Brencis and Mark Bowes (Director of the Ice Dome) have just returned from Latvia where they were talking with various Latvian investors and builders. Aigars would make most Elite League teams and is a credit to his Hawks squad. Watch this space, the twenty-four year old is a class act to watch out for in the future.