It took the Swedes just 29 seconds to get on the scoreboard against Latvia, and the April 30 hockey game was all downhill from there. Latvia now will have to win against Italy if it is to avoid relegation in the 2007 International Ice Hockey Federation World Championship in Moscow.
Sweden smashed Latvia 8-2 in the preliminary round game that at times seemed more about penalties than goals.
Sweden’s Nicklas Backstrom scored the first goal against Latvian goalkeeper Edgars Masalskis. Alexander Steen and Jorgen Jonsson were credited with assists, according to the official Web site of the World Championship, ihwc.net.
At 6:28 into the second period, Sweden added another goal off the stick of Johan Akerman, who was assisted by Jonathan Hedstrom. At 7:48 into the period, Latvia’s Leonids Tambijevs was sent to the penalty box for high sticking, so Sweden took advantage and scored again on a power play. Credit for the point went to Rickard Wallin, with assists from Akerman and Tony Martenson.
Just under two minutes from the end of the period, Sweden made it 4-0 when Fredrik Bremberg scored. He was aided by Dick Tarnstrom and Johan Davidsson.
For the third period, Latvia brought in a fresh goalkeeper, veteran Sergejs Naumovs. The Latvian offense appeared fresher, too. A minute into the period, Kaspars Daugaviņš, assisted by Herberts Vasiļjevs and Oļegs Sorokins, scored Latvia’s first goal on a power play. And at 2:31 into the period, Aleksejs Širokovs scored, assisted by Aleksandrs Macijevskis and Aleksandrs Jerofejevs.
The Latvian rally remained brief, however, as the Swedes quickly took back the ice and scored four more goals. Johansson scored at 3:08, assisted by Tarnstrom and Backstrom. Patric Hornqvist made it 6-2 at 15:13 into the period. He was assisted by Bremberg and Tarnstrom.
Fredrik Warg added another Swedish goal at 16:30. He was assisted by Jonsson. And Tarnstrom got the final point, scoring at 17:15 into the period with assists from Hornqvist and Davidsson.
The Swedes took 30 shots on goal, which Latvia got 24 attempts at getting the puck past Swedish goalkeeper Daniel Henriksson. Latvia racked up 24 minutes in the penalty box, while Sweden had 18.
A total of 5,250 spectators attended the game, according to IHWC.net.
Latvia plays Italy in a game scheduled at 16:15 hours Moscow time May 2 in Arena Khodynka.
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