Latvia wins bronze at IIHF World Championship with victory over USA

Latvia's national ice hockey team rounded off its best-ever showing at the IIHF World Championships in Finland with an exciting victory over the United States, securing a bronze medal in the process.

Just a day after a hard-fought loss to Canada in the semi-finals of the tournament, there was little sign of fatigue and plenty of action around both goals as the two sides traded blows.

Roberts Bukarts added to his tournament tally to open the scoring in the first period in the 7th minute, but the USA equalised via Rocco Grimaldi two minutes later.

After 16 minutes Latvia were back in the lead thanks to Jānis Jaks, then three minutes later Grimaldi repeated his trick for the USA and levelled the scores.

The second period passed without further scoring as the two sides attempted to break each other down but cancelled each other out, before the goals again started flowing in the third period.

Matt Coronato put the USA into the lead for the first time in the 46th minute, but just as it looked like Latvia might be slipping to another heroic defeat Kristiāns Rubīns restored parity with just six minutes left on the clock. In the dying seconds, Rodrigo Ābols came close to securing victory but the American defense just scrambled back in time and with regulation time up, attention turned to nerve-wracking overtime.

In the end, overtime didn't last long, thanks to another Kristiāns Rubīns goal after a minute and a half. It sparked joyous scenes and means the bronze medal will return to Rīga with a team that has captured the imagination of the whole country.


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