Latvia makes promising start at ice hockey world championships

Latvia's national ice hockey team put in two good performances at the start of their International Ice Hockey Federation World Championship campaign over the weekend, coming away with a convincing win and a narrow loss.

Cheered on by hundreds of fans who had made the trip to Slovakia, Latvia beat Austria 5:2 in their opening game on May 11.

 

A day later, Latvia lost out to Switzerland 3:1 in an exciting game that was only decided in the closing minutes. It dents their hopes of securing a quarter final place at the championships, but there is still plenty to fight for with games against Italy on May 14, the Czech Republic on May 16, Russia on May 18, Sweden on May 20 and Norway on May 21 to decide whether or not they progress to the knock-out stages of the 16-team tournament in Slovakia.

Despite the loss against Switzerland, Latvia's Canadian coach Bob Hartley appears to have worked his magic again and created an effective and competitive unit despite limited preparation time, raising public expectations of a good showing in the tournament.

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