Latvia loses to Russia; quarterfinals still possible

World champion Russia remained undefeated May 3 as it swamped Latvia 6-1 in the International Ice Hockey Federation tournament underway in Bern, Switzerland. However, Latvia’s hopes of making it to the quarterfinals are still alive.

The much-anticipated game was the final one in the qualifying round for both teams. Latvia, fresh off a 7-1 victory over France on May 2, found itself outgunned against Russia.

Two more games, both slated May 4, remain to be played in Latvia’s qualifying round group. If the U.S. beats Switzerland, and if Sweden triumphs over France, then Latvia will finish fourth out of six teams but will advance to the quarterfinals.

Russia got its first point on a power play at 11:43 into the first period, according to a game summary posted on the IIHF’s Web site, Anton Kuryanov, assisted by Sergei Mozyakin, scored against Latvian goalkeeper Edgars Masaļskis.

Russia took 15 shots on goal during the first period, compared to Latvia’s nine.

A minute into the second period, Russia scored again, this time off the stick of Alexei Tereschenko. Teammates Ilya Kovalchuk and Dmitri Kalinin were credited with the assist. Things went from bad to worse for the Latvians. At 3:04 into the period, Oleg Tverdovsky made it 3-0 on a power play. Just 46 seconds later, Kuryanov got his second goal of the game, aided by Alexander Perezhogin.

Latvia finally got on the scoreboard at 16:05 into the second period. After Russia was penalized for having too many skaters on the ice, Latvia took advantage of power play. Herberts Vasiļjevs shot the puck past Russian netminder Alexander Eremenko, making the score 4-1. Guntis Galviņš and Mārtiņš Cipulis helped.

By the end of the second period, Russia had outshot Latvia 31-16.

At 3:38 into the third period, Russia’s Alexander Frolov made the score 5-1. He was assisted by Oleg Tverdovsky and Nikolai Zherdev. A little less than three minutes later, it was Tverdovsky’s turn to get a goal, aided by Sergei Zinoviev and Frolov.

For the game, Russia had 37 shots on goal, compared to Latvia’s 26. The Latvians spent a total of 14 minutes in the penalty box, compared to the Russians’ eight.

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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