Finland overpowers Latvian hockey 5-0

Finland shut out Latvia 5-0 in each team’s second appearance May 7 during the preliminary round of the International Ice Hockey Federation World Championship underway in Rīga.

The two teams stayed scoreless through the first period, with the Finns recording 11 shots on goal to Latvia’s eight, according to a game summary posted on the official championship Web site,

But then the Finnish team came on stronger, scoring twice in the second period. The first goal came 4 minutes 32 seconds into the period, when Jari Viuhkola scored on a power play with help from Jukka Hentunen and Mikko Lehtonen. Tomi Kallio got Finland’s second point 15:02 into the period.

Latvia’s fortunes didn’t change in the third period, as the Finns kept up their attack. Ville Peltonen, assisted by Petteri Nummelin, scored on a power play 8:38 into the period. Then, 11:51 into the period, a pass bounced off the skate of Aki-Petteri Berg and into the goal. The assists on the power play went to Nummelin and Jussi Jokinen. The Finns weren’t quite finished, however, and 15:10 into the period Jani Rita, assisted by Esa Pirnes, added the fifth goal.

Latvia’s goalkeeper Sergejs Naumovs took on 41 shots on goal, stopping 36. Finland’s Antero Niittymaki had an easier time, stopping all 19 of Latvia’s shots on goal.

The Finns also spent more time in the penalty box, recording 47 minutes compared to Latvia’s 20. More than half of Finland’s penalty minutes belonged to forward Tuomo Ruutu.

Latvia’s next game is against Slovenia on May 9. The hometown team will have to at least tie Slovenia to advance to the qualification round.

Andris Straumanis is a special correspondent for and a co-founder of Latvians Online. From 2000–2012 he was editor of the website.

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