Latvia falls to Czechs in hockey championship

Latvia’s national hockey team lost 1-3 to the hometome favorites in its opening 2004 International Ice Hockey Federation World Championship game April 24 in Prague, capital of the Czech Republic.

The Czechs dominated the ice in the first period, scoring their first goal just two minutes and 22 seconds into the game, according to results reported on the championship’s official Web site. The Czechs scored twice more in the first period and held the Latvians scoreless through the second period.

Latvian forward Grigorijs Panteļejevs scored his team’s only goal in the closing seconds of the contest. He was assisted by forwards Aleksandrs Nizivijs and Herberts Vasiljevs.

Overall, according to official game statistics, Latvia’s national team got off only 24 shots at the goal, compared to 38 by the Czechs, three of which got by Latvian goaltender Edgars Masaļskis.

Missing from Latvia’s lineup was star defenseman Sandis Ozoliņš. According to Latvian media reports, it is not known why Ozoliņš, who plays for the Anaheim Mighty Ducks of North America’s National Hockey League, failed to arrive in Prague.

The Latvian team has a day off before its next game. Latvia faces Germany on April 26 and Kazakhstan on April 27.

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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