Thanks to the hometown team, Latvia will face Canada in the quarterfinals of the International Ice Hockey Federation’s World Championship underway in Bern, Switzerland.
After its May 3 loss to Russia during the qualifying round, Latvia sat in fourth place out of the six teams from Group E hoping for a spot in the quarterfinals. The top four teams would advance, while the bottom two would be eliminated from the tournament.
Switzerland surprised the U.S. with a 4-3 overtime victory May 4, but the win was not enough to save the hometown team from being eliminated from the tournament. Because of how points are distributed for victories in the tournament, Switzerland would have had to win during regulation time, rather than overtime, to push Latvia out of the competition.
Meanwhile, Sweden topped France 6-3, securing a place for itself in the quarterfinals. The French, like the Swiss, have been eliminated from the tournament.
Latvia’s match against Canada is scheduled for 16:15 hours Swiss time May 7. The game will be played in the PostFinance Arena in Bern. The winner of the game will play either Sweden or the Czech Republic in the semifinals.
The last time Latvia made the quarterfinals was 2004, but it lost to Sweden and did not advance further.
At this point, Latvia is guaranteed no worse than an eighth-place finish in this year’s World Championship. In all, 16 teams are participating in the tournament.
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