Latvia shuts out Austria, advances in tournament

Following a 2-0 victory over Austria, Latvia has advanced to the qualifying round of the International Ice Hockey Federation’s World Championship and will next face hometown team Switzerland.

The game was played before a crowd of about 5,200 hockey fans in the PostFinance Arena in Bern.

Latvia got its first goal with just 45 seconds left in the first period, according to a game summary posted on the IIHF’s Web site, Mārtiņš Cipulis shot the puck past Austrian goalkeeper Bernd Bruckler. Herberts Vasiļjevs and Kārlis Skrastiņš were credited with the assist.

The two sides went scoreless through the second period. With just more than five minutes left to play in the third period, Latvia’s Guntis Dzeriņš made it 2-0 with help from Miķelis Rēdlihs.

Latvia had 37 shots on goal, compared to 21 for Austria. Edgars Masaļskis guarded Latvia’s goal.

Latvian players earned a total of 31 minutes in the penalty box, compared to Austria’s 18.

With the victory, Latvia finished third in its preliminary round group. The United States was first and Sweden second. Austria, last in the group, will be sent to the relegation round.

Latvia will go up against Switzerland in a game scheduled at 20:15 hours Swiss time April 30.

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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