Latvia and the United States battled to a 3-3 tie in their preliminary round Winter Olympics hockey game Feb. 15, a result that has sports commentators wondering about prospects for the American team.
Latvia had Artūrs Irbe in the goal and a number of other Olympic veterans helping to round out the squad. It faced a U.S. team that was unseasoned in Olympic competition, according to some media reports.
The first period in Palasport Olimpico in Torino, Italy, ended with the United States ahead 2-1, but Latvia added two goals in the second period to take the lead, 3-2. The Americans tied up the game two minutes into the third period, according to results posted on the official Web site of the Winter Olympics, www.torino2006.org.
The United States was the first to get a point on the scoreboard. Nine minutes and 44 seconds into the game, Brian Gionta scored on a power play, assisted by John-Michael Liles and Scott Gomez. Not even a minute later Craig Conroy added a second goal for the United States. Latvia’s Aleksandrs Ņiživijs, assisted by Sandis Ozoliņš, got his team’s first goal at 13:15 into the game.
Latvia kept the United States scoreless in the second period, but added two more goals and took the lead. Atvars Tribuncovs, assisted by Ozoliņš and Ņiživijs, scored 35:04 into the game. Forty seconds later, Herberts Vasiļjevs scored with help from Rodrigo Laviņš.
The U.S. team added the tying goal just two minutes into the final period. The point was credited to Jordon Leopold, with assistance from Bret Hedican and Craig Conroy.
The Americans outshot the Latvians, keeping Irbe busy as he stopped 39 of 42 scoring attempts. U.S. goaltender John Grahame stopped 22 of Latvia’s 25 shots on goal.
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