Latvian hockey players lost to Germany in the decisive, seventh game of subgroup B with the result 1: 2 (0: 2, 1: 0, 0: 0), taking the sixth place in the group. To enter the quarterfinals, the Latvian national team needed at least one point. The road to the quarterfinals was provided by Germany, whose victories in regular time were also valid for Canada.
Rodrigo Ābols scored the goal for the Latvian national team, but Miķelis Rēdlihs was recognized as the best player.
The goal of the Latvian national team was guarded by Jānis Kalniņš for the second match in a row. In the absence of Kaspars Daugaviņš, Lauris Dārziņš was the captain of the Latvian state unit.
Debutants Renārs Krastenbergs, Dārziņš and Ronalds Ķēniņš were recognized as the best players in the Latvian national team in this championship.
From today, the games of the World Championship can be attended in person and this opportunity was used by about 934 fans who bought tickets to the Latvian-German fight.
In subgroup B, the United States won with 18 points in seven games, Finland with 17 points, Germany with 12 points and Canada and Kazakhstan with ten points each. Nine points were scored by Latvia, eight points by Norway, while Italy remained in the beige.
In the quarterfinals, the USA will compete with Slovakia, Finland with the Czech Republic, Germany with Switzerland and Canada with the Russian Olympic Committee (OKR) team.
The match started at a fast pace, with both teams exchanging attacks. Already in the fourth minute, Kalniņš was defeated by Jons Peterka, who quickly flew into the zone and threw the puck under the cross in a flash. The stormy hockey continued and in the seventh minute Marcel Nebel sent the puck from the front in the goal – 2: 0 in favor of the German national team.
In the middle of the period, the Latvian national team stayed longer in the German defense zone and made several shots, but none of them were successful. Subsequently, the German team received a two-minute penalty for the numerical infringement. Most Latvians stood in the area until the first whistle, but after that they could no longer seriously threaten the goal of Matīss Niedbergbergers.
Latvia did not use the next majority either, but then Roberts Bukarts received a two-minute penalty for a shot with a stick. Opponents also played unsuccessfully in the fifth to four.
At the beginning of the second period, the homeowners tried to provoke opponents to the offense, but the Germans were sufficiently disciplined. In the fifth minute of the period, after the error of the German national team, three Latvian hockey players slipped against one player of the field and Ābols, after a match with Uvi Balinski, sent the puck to the net – 1: 2.
In the middle of the period, Latvian hockey players actively attacked the opponents’ goal several times and put pressure, but the several-minute offensive did not yield results. In the second half of the third, the Germans responded with several attacks and won the majority before going to the locker room after Mika Indraš’s violation. Indrašis, returning to the field at the beginning of the third period, threw dangerously at the German national team goal.
Latvian hockey players tested the vigilance of the unconvincing goalkeeper Niedbergberger a few times, but to no avail. In the ninth minute of the third period, the home team had another chance to play in the majority, which remained unused. At the beginning of the second half of the period, Germany had the opportunity to strengthen its leadership, but the opponents did not use a two-way trip against one Latvian hockey player.
Six and a half minutes before the end of regular time, another majority for Latvia was taken care of by Renārs Krastenbergs. The Latvian players mostly “fired” the rivals’ goal, but the opponents played selflessly and blocked several shots, then the game was moved away from their defensive zone.
Less than two minutes before the end of regular time, Kalniņš was substituted for the sixth player of the court. The Latvians pressed hard on the opponents’ goal and in a desperate fight tried to pull out the desired result, which would give at least one point and a place in the quarterfinals. However, the success did not smile and there was minimal loss.
The Latvian national team started the championship with a sensational victory over Canada (0: 2), then Kazakhstan lost 2: 3 in “bulls”, Italy won 3: 0 in the third game, conceded to the US hockey players 2: 4 on Thursday, a day later 3: 4 – for Norway, but on Sunday in the extension – for Finland (2: 3).
The Germans defeated Italy 9: 4 and Norway 5: 1 – Norway, as well as defeated Canada 3: 1. This was followed by three losses – 2: 3 against Kazakhstan, 1: 2 against Finland and 0: 2 against the USA.
The Latvian national hockey team spent its 24th World Championship in the highest division.
Compared to other years, the Latvian national team had its first free practice training on March 17. At the beginning of April, 37 hockey players had their first official training before the upcoming World Championships, but on April 9 and 14, the candidates convincingly won the Latvian U-18 hockey team 6: 1 and 5: 1, which later went to the USA to play in the elite division. About a week later (April 20 and 21), a team of 26 men played two test matches in Slovakia. In the first of them, Slovakia managed to win the bulls 2: 1, but in the second extra time they lost 0: 1.
In the last test matches in mid-May, Latvia acknowledged the superiority of the Swiss national team with 0: 3 and 1: 2. After the second test match with Switzerland, Bob Hartley named the line-up for the World Cup, which included three goalkeepers, nine defenders and 16 strikers. These 28 hockey players also entered the championship a week ago.
The most experienced in the Latvian national team is Miķelis Rēdlihs, who had this in the career of the 13th World Championship. Kristaps Sotnieks has less than one tournament, but for the tenth time Latvia was represented in the elite by Kaspars Daugaviņš, Lauris Dārziņš, Andris Džeriņš and Gints Meija. Daugaviņš, Dārziņš and Rēdlihs were in the application for the 2006 Riga Championship.
There was only one debutant in the team – 22-year-old striker Renārs Krastenbergs.
Due to the growth of the family, the goalkeeper Elvis Merzļikins did not help the team, the striker Rūdolfs Balcers is waiting for a new contract, who, like Zemgus Girgensons, who has not played this season, is healing the injury. The striker Teodors Bļugers was busy in the Stanley Cup, who was not left with a place in the Latvian national team application. Gunta Galviņa, the long-time national team defender, had to do without this championship, while another player of this position, Krišjānis Rēdlihs, ended his career in the national team.
Both teams have met 12 times in the world championships in the elite group, winning four in four, playing once in a draw (1: 1) and losing seven times. In the last mutual world championship game in 2018, Latvia was 3: 1 superior.
In November, the two teams met twice in the German Cup in Krefeld. In the first match with 2: 0 Germany was better, but in the final Latvia revenge in overtime with 3: 2. Frank Razgals scored the victory goal.
There were only seven hockey players in Riga in this tournament.
The World Cup usually starts in the first week of May, but this year it is postponed to the end of the month so as not to overlap with the national championship playoffs and the NHL regular tournament.
Group B, played by Latvia, Canada, Finland, USA, Germany, Norway, Italy and Kazakhstan, matches take place in “Arena Riga”, while Group A national team of the Russian Olympic Committee (OKR) team, Sweden, Czech Republic, Switzerland, Slovakia, Denmark, Belarus and Great Britain spend their duels on the ice rink set up on the football field of the Olympic Sports Center.
In 2022 it is planned to host the tournament for Finland (Helsinki and Tampere), in 2023 – for Russia (St. Petersburg), in 2024 for the Czech Republic (Prague and Ostrava), and in 2025 – for Sweden and Denmark.
The 2021 World Championship in Riga will take place until June 6.
Riga has hosted the World Championships for the only time so far in 2006.
The LETA section dedicated to the hockey championship (“http://www.leta.lv/hockey”) provides the latest information not only on the progress and success of the Latvian hockey team, but also on the results of other teams and current events of the championship.
Composition of the Latvian men’s hockey team at the 2021 World Championship:
Goalkeepers: Ivars Punnenovs (Langnavas “Tigers”, Switzerland), Jānis Kalniņš (Helsinki “Jokerit”, KHL), Matīss Edmunds Kivlenieks (Cleveland “Monsters”, AHL / Columbus “Blue Jackets”, NHL).
Defenders: Jānis Jaks (Bakersfield “Condors”, AHL), Kristiāns Rubīns (Toronto “Marlies”, AHL), Kristaps Sotnieks, Gunārs Skvorcovs, Kristaps Zīle (all – Riga “Dinamo”, KHL), Oskars Cibulskis (both Balvis – Litervinov “Verva”, Czech Republic), Artūrs Kulda (Nuremberg “Ice Tigers”, Germany), Ralph Freibergs (Trinec “Ocelārži”, Czech Republic).
Forwarders: Andris Džeriņš, Lauris Dārziņš, Roberts Bukarts, Rihards Bukarts, Mārtiņš Dzierkals, Gints Meija (all – Riga “Dinamo”, KHL), Rodrigo Ābols (“Orebro”, Sweden), Ronalds Ķēniņš (“Lausanne”, Switzerland), Kaspars Daugaviņš (Vitjaz, Moscow Region, KHL), Mārtiņš Karsums (Pinguine in Krefeld, Germany), Rihards Marenis (Kiruna IF, Sweden), Māris Bičevskis (Mlada Boleslav, Czech Republic), Oskars Batņa (Angletas) Hormadi “, France), Renar Krastenberg (Villach, Austria), Michael Redlich (Olimp / Venta 2002), Mick Indras (Moscow region” Vitjaz “, KHL).
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