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Riga fans supporting their team by shopping in a store of the biggest sponsor of Riga Reign.

 

Helsinki Titans managed to beat Malmo in a game seven thriller yesterday! Malmo and their supporters more than likely feel they could have won the game, Malmo had over 50 shots, but still in the end the Titans managed to score couple goals more. Not the first game in the series that had a surprising result, for example in game four Helsinki faced similar trouble to score when Malmo won despite Helsinki having more shots. Either way, Helsinki moves on to the next round and faces Riga!

 

Before we get to Riga lets say few words about an interesting story or start to one. Jim Bob was on fire in the games six and seven, he scored two goals in both games. The interesting part comes with the fact that Bob was moved into a bigger role compared to the role he played in on the first five games and most of the regular season, Bob used that opportunity perfectly. He was one of the key players in games six and seven. Could this be the start of something great, is Jim Bob finally getting here?

 

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The goals scored was a big positive, but Bob also took three or four minor penalty minutes that could potentially be extremely costly in the games against Riga, the Reign have really talented roster once again. Tate on the blueline has been dominating , 0 + 12 in five games is a disgusting total. Five of those points by the way are on the powerplay, so Helsinki truly needs to stay out of the penalty box and limit Riga's powerplay opportunities. Marleau and Ofersson both have five goals and ten points in five games, Riga has two top-level centers and by the looks of it they are ready to play. The icing on the cake is goalie Eagles who is one of the best in VHL.

 

What I like about Riga the most is the physicality, Sasakamoose is perhaps one of the dirtiest defenders in this year's playoffs, 33 penalty minutes in just five games, is he even trying to play by the rules? My guess is no. Marleau is a tough guy to play against not only because he is dangerous offensively, but Marleu is also able to use his body really well. Tate and Codrick Past two other players who are known for their willingness to hit.

 

I'm expecting intense series between Helsinki and Riga, both teams have players who can make things happen offensively, but both teams also have players who will play hard in every shift, that will guarantee fireworks and nastiness. When thinking about who goes into the finals, some key points from the Titans point of few will be the mentioned penalty minutes, can they keep Tate and others out of the man advantage? Another point is hot players like Bob, can he keep on going and be a difference-maker in a positive way?

 

In a similar fashion, Riga needs to find a way to control Saskamoose and his temper, despite having Eagles in net, too many penalty minutes will lead to trouble, we saw how well the Titans used their powerplay opportunities against Malmo. 

 

Similar points for both, so could it be that powerplays or lack of them for one team could be what makes the difference between Riga and Helsinki? Could be, every goal is big at this point of the season.

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