Canada crushes Latvia 7-0 in ice hockey championship

After a thrashing by the Canadians in the 2008 International Ice Hockey Federation World Championship, Latvia’s ice hockey team now faces a must-win game against Slovenia.

Host Canada beat the Latvians 7-0 in a May 4 preliminary round game in Halifax, Nova Scotia. If Latvia loses to Slovenia as well, the team will be sent down to the relegation round.

It did not take the Canadians long to get the upper hand. The first goal came 2 minutes, 5 seconds into the first period. Patrick Sharp, assisted by Jamal Mayers and Ed Jovanovski, scored against Latvian goalie Edgars Masaļskis, according to official game statistics provided by the IIHF. Mike Green scored next at 3:45, helped by Dany Heatley. Heatley, in turned, scored at 12:15, assisted by Ryan Getzlaf.

A series of three quick goals by the Canadians opened the second period. Rick Nash scored at 1:03 on a power play, assisted by Brent Burns and Heatley. Just 57 seconds later, Martin St. Louis scored with help from Jason Spezza. And at 2:42 into the period, Chris Kunitz made it 6-0 with help from Derek Roy.

The Latvians then took Masaļskis out and put in Sergejs Naumovs as goaltender, but to little avail. At 12:20 into the period, Nash got the puck past Naumovs as well, with help from Getzlaf and Heatley.

No one scored in the third period.

Compared to the May 2 match against the United States, when Latvia was outshot two to one, the game against Canada was tighter. Canada had 37 shots on goal, while Latvia had 30. However, the Canadians were much more effective.

The Latvians also were dogged by penalties, racking up 39 minutes in the box, compared to just 8 for the Candians. Forward Raitis Ivanāns alone accounted for 25 minutes, ejected with penalties for spearing and game misconduct after a third period run-in with Canada’s Getzlaf, who got 2 minutes for roughing.

The game against Slovenia is scheduled at 8:15 p.m. May 6 in the Halifax Metro Centre, Halifax, Nova Scotia.

Andris Straumanis is a special correspondent for and a co-founder of Latvians Online. From 2000–2012 he was editor of the website.

U.S. beats Latvia 4-0 as hockey championship begins

In a game described as hard fought, the United States blanked Latvia 4-0 as the two teams faced each other May 2 during the opening day of the 2008 International Ice Hockey Federation World Championship in Canada.

The loss in the preliminary round game means Latvia will have to be victorious against either Canada or Slovenia to avoid relegation.

The aggresive American squad outshot the Latvians two to one, tallying 49 shots on goal during the game compared to the Latvians’ 24, according to official game statistics provided by the IIHF.

The U.S. scored for the first time 7 minutes, 21 seconds into the first period. Dustin Brown took advantage of a power play and shot the puck past Latvian goaltender Edgars Masaļskis. Brown was assisted by Pat Kane and Paul Martin.

The U.S. scored again 8:44 into the second period on a power play by Kane, assisted by Martin.

A pair of power plays in the third period finished off the Latvians. Zach Parise scored the third goal at 7:09, assisted by Brown and Kane. Patrick O’Sullivan made it 4-0 at 11:05, helped by Peter Mueller and Martin.

Each period was marked by several penalties on both sides, but during the third period the Latvians heard the referee’s whistle eight times, compared to just three for the American team. In all, Latvian players spent 26 minutes during the game in the penalty box, compared to 18 for the U.S. team.

The Latvian next faces home team Canada in a game scheduled at 4:30 p.m. May 4 in Halifax Metro Centre, Halifax, Nova Scotia.

Andris Straumanis is a special correspondent for and a co-founder of Latvians Online. From 2000–2012 he was editor of the website.

Latvia faces U.S. in first game of hockey championship

Latvia, in another bid not to end up in the cellar, will face the United States in its first game as the International Ice Hockey Federation World Championship begins May 2 in Canada.

The preliminary round game is scheduled at 20:15 hours in the Halifax Metro Centre, Halifax, Nova Scotia. Latvia, which is starting in Group B, also is scheduled to play Canada on May 4 and Slovenia on May 6. The top three teams in the preliminary round will advance to the qualification round, but the fourth-place team will go to the relegation round.

Games will be played in Halifax and in Québec City, Québec.

During last year’s championship in Russia, Latvia ended up 13th overall in the field of 16 teams. Canada won the championship.

As of April 24 the Latvian roster for this year’s championship, according to the IIHF Web site, includes goalies Edgars Masaļskis, Sergejs Naumovs and Dmitrijs Žabotinskis. Defenders on the squad are Jānis Andersons, Guntis Galviņš, Aleksandrs Jerofejevs, Rodrigo Laviņš, Georgijs Pujacs, Jēkabs Rēdlihs, Krišjānis Rēdlihs, Arvīds Reķis and Agris Saviels. Forwards are Armands Bērziņš, Viktors Bļinovs, Mārtiņš Cipulis, Lauris Dārziņš, Guntis Džeriņš, Aleksandrs Macijevskis, Aleksandrs Ņiživijs, Sergejs Pečura, Miķelis Rēdlihs, Jānis Sprukts, Aleksejs Širokovs, Juris Štāls and Herberts Vasiļjevs.

The Latvian team is coached by Oļegs Znaroks and his assistant, Harijs Vītoliņš.

Andris Straumanis is a special correspondent for and a co-founder of Latvians Online. From 2000–2012 he was editor of the website.