Latvian and German hockey fans kept up the din in Prague’s Sazka Arena as their teams battled to a 1-1 tie in an International Ice Hockey Federation World Championship game played April 26, media reports say. With one loss and one tie in the preliminary round, Latvia now needs to do well against Kazakhstan if it is to have a chance at the qualifying round.
In contrast to its 1-3 loss two days ago to the Czech Republic, Latvia came on strong against the Germans already in the first period. Sergejs Žoltoks, who was named Latvia’s most valuable player of the game, scored his nation’s only goal 9 minutes and 34 seconds into the first period, according to game results posted on IHWC.net. His power play was assisted by Normunds Sējējs and Oļegs Sorokins.
Germany evened up the score in the second period, getting the puck past Latvia’s veteran goaltender Artūrs Irbe.
In all, Germany had 24 shots on goal, compared to Latvia’s 23, according to official game statistics. Both teams had plenty of chances to score in the first two periods, but held each other back during the crucial third period. Latvia only had three shots on goal during the third period, compared to 12 in the first period and eight in the second period.
Latvian players also spent more minutes in the penalty box, 12, than did Germans, 8.
Latvia plays Kazakhstan on April 27 in Prague.
The top three teams in each of the four four-team groups in the preliminary round will advance to the qualifying round, which will be played April 30-May 4. The teams with the worst records in the preliminary round will face each other in the relegation round.
After its first two games in the Group A preliminary round, Latvia finds itself in third place behind Germany and the Czech Republic, but ahead of Kazakhstan.
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