Latvia falls to Swiss in ice hockey championship

Latvia fell 2-1 to Switzerland in the team’s first preliminary round game April 28 in the 2007 International Ice Hockey Federation World Championship in Moscow.

The World Championship began April 27 and will end May 13 with the gold medal game.

The teams went scoreless in the first period, but 8 minutes and 25 seconds into the second period, Lauris Dārziņš slipped the puck past Swiss goalkeeper Jonas Hiller to give Latvia a 1-0 lead.  Miķelis Rēdlihs assisted on the play, according to the official Web site of the World Championship.

The Swiss returned the favor at 15:50 into the period when forward Adrian Wischer, assisted by Sandy Jeannin, scored against Latvian goalkeeper Sergejs Naumovs. Not quite three and a half minutes later, Wischer and Jeannin reversed roles and added the game-winning goal.

With about a half minute of play left in the third period, Latvia pulled Naumovs from the goal, adding an extra attacker to its offense in a failed attempt to even the score.

Over the three periods, the Swiss attempted more shots on goal, 26 than the Latvians, 16.

A total of 6,688 spectators watched the game, according to the World Championship Web site.

Latvia next goes up against Sweden in a game scheduled at 20:15 hours Moscow time April 30 in Arena Khodynka. Latvia will face Italy on May 2 in its final preliminary round game.

Meanwhile, oddsmakers are considering whether the squad will do well enough to avoid relegation. Latvia must score in the top three teams in its preliminary round group.

Latvia finished 10th overall in 2006 when the championship was played in Rīga, ninth overall in the 2005 championship in Austria and seventh overall in the 2004 championship in the Czech Republic.

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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