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.

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