Head coach Bob Hartley must be proud. And with good reason. Latvia, led by Hartley, defeated Canada by a score of 2-0 on Friday at the Ice Hockey World Championship.
The victory is all the more flavorful for Latvia as the competition, in which Canada played its first game, is held in this country.
Latvian goalkeeper Matiss Kivlenieks was the great hero of the match played in Riga, pushing back the 38 pucks aimed at him. The Columbus Blue Jackets goalie allowed his nation to inflict a very first loss on Canada in 22 games (1-20-1), whether in this tournament, at the Olympics, at the World Juniors or at the under 18.
“He was amazing,” Ralfs Freibergs said of his goalie, according to the official website of the International Ice Hockey Federation. “For Latvia, 90% [de la stratégie pour] winning a match relies on the keeper. He gave nothing to Canada. Nothing. He played an important role in the victory. ”
Premier but important
Miks Indrasis was the first to hit the target for Latvia, during a power-play, with just two seconds remaining on the opening round. Oskars Batna also beat goaltender Darcy Kuemper in the second period. The masked man was ultimately put to the test 17 times.
“Scoring the first goal was so important since we didn’t have to play catch-up hockey,” Hartley said. [Le Canada] counts on a group of young people, on several talented and promising young hockey players. And we knew that if they had managed to score first, the game would have picked up speed. ”
Within the Canadian team, whose head coach is Gerard Gallant, also appear the names of Quebecers Maxime Comtois, the Anaheim Ducks, and Nicolas Beaudin, of the Chicago Blackhawks. She will resume action on Sunday against the Americans.
For Hartley, this unexpected victory against Canada comes on top of his recent triumph in the Continental Hockey League (KHL), as he won the Gagarin Cup with the Omsk Avangard in early May.