Two wins from two as hockey hopes grow

Take note – story published 7 years ago

Latvia's hockey team produced one of the performances of the tournament so far May 7 to overpower Slovakia at the International Ice Hockey Federation world championships. 

Fresh off the back of a 3:0 victory over Denmark, Latvia ran out 3:1 winners against Slovakia, scoring a goal in each period and fully deserving their victory with great teamwork and far better discipline than their opponents.

Latvia's NHL star Zemgus Girgensons was named player of the game, despite finishing it with a badly cut cheek and scored the second Latvian goal after patient build-up during a power play.

The result leaves Latvia clear at the top of Group A with mighty Canada topping group B. The top four teams from each group will progress to the knock-out stages of the tournament and while there is still some way to go, if Bob Hartley's team can maintain their sense of cohesion and commitment, which is in marked contrast with some performances in the pre-Hartley era, qualification is certainly possible.

The next game is May 9 against Italy.

The team got great support from a large Latvian contingent in the 8,000 fans in Cologne's Lanxess Arena, while back home in Latvia a rising wave of support and belief is also palpable. Highlights of the game can be viewed at the official IIHF YouTube site (below).

"It's good that we didn't have to start out against Russia or Sweden, it gives us a chance to get a bit of confidence in our game before playing the stronger teams," goal-scorer Janis Sprukts (pictured) said after the game according to the official IIHF website.

The final goal was scored by Andris Dzerins who also had an outstanding game.


 

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