Gints Narogs, Latvijas Avīze, JSC Latvijas Mediji
The Latvian U-20 national ice hockey team lost yesterday in the decisive match of Group A of the first World Cup against their Belarusian teammates 1: 2.
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The team trained by Kārlis Zirnis started the tournament with two wins – 4: 2 against Norway and 5: 4 against Denmark. The second match was difficult, I had to play between 1: 3 and 2: 4. Latvian juniors showed their character by beating Raivis Anson in the penultimate minute. Belarusian juniors crossed Denmark (9: 1) and Hungary (8: 2) in the first two games.
The fight with the Belarusians was very even, we have a lot of good chances to score, and that goes for our opponents too, because it’s junior hockey. The opponents who scored a goal in Bruno Brewer’s goal in the second and third third were more successful.
Latvia responded with an Anson penalty less than five minutes before the end of normal time. In the last two minutes the Latvians played with an empty goal but couldn’t save the game. Hopefully the Belarusians will stumble twice in the remaining two games but we win. For Belarusians games against Kazakhstan and Norway, for us Hungary and Kazakhstan.
In the NHL championship, Elvis Merzlikin lost 35 shots, but the Columbia Blue Jackets lost to the Vancouver Canucks 3-4. The “blue jacket” took a 3-0 lead, but lost two points in the end and threw the opposing puck into Merzilik’s goal 59 seconds before the end of regular time.
Elvis has won 11 games in 18 games this season, which is the 14th indicator in the league. In the most important statistics columns for goalkeepers, he ranks 33rd and 43rd, respectively, based on the percentage of rebounds and the average goals conceded. The Latvian strikers in the best hockey league are also a bit rusty.
Rūdolfs Balcers has not played for some time due to a knee injury, but Teodors Blugers and Zemgus Girgensons have played five and four games respectively. Balcers last left the field on December 3, then injured his knee ligament. All Latvian attackers have 10 credit points this season.