I won’t go as far as calling this the biggest victory in Latvian hockey history… because it wasn’t. However, it surely makes it very close to the top. The World Championship hosts became the first team in fifteen years to leave Canada dry on the score sheet.
Never before had Latvia won Canada at the IIHF World Championships but tonight things changed. Canada had a massive advantage in the first period, they had the most opportunities but it took just one goal for Latvia a single second prior to the end of the first period to gain confidence – Miks Indrasis grabbed a pass from Ronalds Kenins to beat Darcy Kuemper.
The second period wasn’t much different – it was all Canada and Latvia did their best on the counters. A harmless shot by Kristians Rubins was re-directed into the net by Oskars Batna, it was his first goal for Team Latvia at the World Champs.
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In the third period – Canada pushed and they pushed hard trying to get something going. That was the time when the star of the game – Columbus’ Matīss Kivlenieks stepped up big time on many occasions stopping the pucks left and right. So many possibilities but the Latvian squad was glued together and they made sure that the victory was theirs. Prior to the celebrations the hosts even hit the post three times in a row but it meant nothing – the whole country of Latvia was already up on their feet celebrating a victory that they had never experienced before. A victory against the mother of hockey – the country of Canada. It was Latvia’s first win after 11 losses and a single tie in all-time history at the Worlds.