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.