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Latvia bow out of ice hockey World Championship

Latvia's involvement in the International Ice Hockey Federation World Championships is now restricted to that of host nation only, after the national team lost a make-or-break game against Germany June 1.

Needing a regular time win to ensure qualification for the knockout stages of the tournament, Latvia lost 2:1 to the Germans who now proceed instead.

Germany took a 2:0 lead early in the first period, Latvia pulled one goal back in the second period and for a while looked likely to square things up but were shut out in the third period, providing a sense of anticlimax to the majority of the 2,600 fans in the arena.

With the top four in each eight-round group qualifying for the latter stages, Latvia wound up a disappointing 6th, and will rue in particular a shoot-out loss to Kazakhstan and an overtime loss to Norway with just four seconds left on the clock. The first-game win against Canada proved to be the high point of the tournament.

The loss of the local favorites is also likely to reduce the demand for tickets to the remaining games of the championship, despite the extreme efforts of Latvia's legislators to make them available to the paying public. 

The eight teams qualifying for the quarter finals are Germany, Canada, Finland, the USA, Switzerland, the Czech Republic, Slovakia and the team playing under the flag of the Russian Olympic Committee instead of the Russian flag as a result of punishment for the Russian Olympic doping program.   

 

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