IIHF - Big win on penalties for Latvia

IIHF – Big win on penalties for Latvia

The match started a bit slow, as Austria beat Latvia 9-6 in the first half without goals.

Austria opened the scoring just a minute into the second half as Raffel fed Benjamin Nessner, who managed to close with his shot from a steep corner and advance into the top corner over Sellovs’ gauntlet.

Latvia leveled just four minutes later with Janis Jack from a perfectly prepared point one time from Rudolf Balceres who beat Starkbaum’s short team.

Latvia then had a pair of power-playing chances and took the lead in the second, just shy of the match’s midpoint. Starkbaum seemed to have a clear view of Karlis Cukste’s shot, but Rihards Bukarts reached out to offer a one-hand tip that redirected the ball perfectly across the Austrian goalkeeper’s pads.

However, Austria slipped even in its own power game after just 1:34. Demonstrating incredible poise and patience with the puck on point, Heinrich walked the line and then fired a perfectly placed slap shot at Silovs’ blocker.

But before the period was up, Latvia was ahead and Balchers was his second goal of the match. Kristaps Sontnieks forced a turn in the neutral zone and the San Jose Sharks winger carried the disc into the Austrian zone, and worked in a game of appeasement with Bukarts and Balcers that ended with one timer.

Austria beat Latvia 15-3 in the third game but scored only once to equalize the score. It happened when Nissner made a Killian Zundel device for one timer. With the puck centimeters away from the ice, Ravel tilted the disc down, causing it to bounce off the ice and over Silovs’ left cushion with 13:39 to play.

Sensing the momentum on their part, the Austrians pressed for more. He rushed into the area minutes later, and Seelov stopped Peter Schneider’s initial shot. Henrich got the rebound and tried to go upstairs but the Latvian goalkeeper leaned forward and shot the ball into the blue and white Vancouver Canucks mask, keeping the score tied.

“I was just doing a tackle,” said Sellovs, emphasizing that saving the mask was no accident. “I was going with my head on because I knew I couldn’t do anything with the glove, so I had to go with my head on.”

Austria had a great chance to win it early in overtime when a point-and-shoot shot crept through Seelov and sat on the edge of the tuck, with bodies flying everywhere as both teams struggled to get to the puck. Eventually Silov covered it up. At the other end of the ice a minute or so later, Ronald Kennes broke through with a shot off the post.

The overtime period ended with chances at both ends in the last 10 seconds. At first Rihards Bukarts tried to get around Latvia which didn’t go, then Paul Huber made a breakaway for Austria via Silovs and hit off the post with less than a second on remaining.

“We played a really good game, especially in the third half,” Austrian striker Manuel Ganal said. “It was unbelievable, we did everything, we came back and we tied the game, we had chances to win it. The extra time was so close, we had chances on both sides. Of course there is always a bit of luck in the end and this is a huge loss for us.”

“We need to keep going,” said Ravel, looking forward to tomorrow’s game against Finland. “We showed that we played some really good hockey in this tournament. We played really well against big countries. Against Finland, our biggest task will be to keep our defense well and take advantage of our changes up front.”

“We’re not watching what’s going on behind us, we’re just looking ahead,” said Roberts Bocartes. “It’s in our hands. In the World Championships, two things are more important: getting better in every set, and not getting hurt. I think, I hope we do both and that we’ll do better again against Great Britain. It’s two big points for us.”

2022-05-20 20:23:30

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