International Ice Hockey Federation

O Captain! My Captain!

O Captain! My Captain!

Zeile with three points as Latvia tops Denmark

Published 21.04.2016 14:36 GMT-4 | Author Lucas Aykroyd
O Captain! My Captain!
GRAND FORKS, NORTH DAKOTA - APRIL 21: Latvia's Deniss Smirnovs #10 celebrates after scoring a first period against Denmark during relegation round action at the 2016 IIHF Ice Hockey U18 World Championship. (Photo by Matt Zambonin/HHOF-IIHF Images)
Latvia beat Denmark 5-1 to open the best-of-three relegation series at the ICON Sports Center on Thursday. Captain Tomass Zeile had a goal and two assists.

Erlends Klavins scored twice, Pauls Svars racked up four assists, and Renars Krastenbergs had two assists. Netminder Gustavs Grigals was solid as his teammates outshot Denmark 26-22.

Latvia is striving to return for its third straight IIHF World U18 Championship next year in Slovakia. The newly promoted Danes would like to make it two years in a row at this tournament for the first time since 2004 and 2005. But their hopes took a blow here.

Latvia drew first blood at 13:25 when Dennis Smirnovs beat Danish goalie Kasper Krog. But Denmark struck back to tie it up just over two minutes later when Joachim Blichfelt scored his team-leading fourth goal of the tournament on the power play.

Denmark’s power play could have been even more of a difference-maker. Coming into this game, it was clicking at 25 percent. But although the Latvians took nine minors in total, the Danes didn’t take full advantage.

Near the midpoint of the second period, Vlads Vulkanovs tallied the eventual winner as Latvia went up 2-1 on the power play.

The Danes pressed for the equalizer in the third as the teams traded rushes. But on a Latvian power play with some deft puck movement, Svars fed Zeile in the slot for a two-goal lead at 11:14.

Klavins put the game out of Denmark’s reach when he scored to make it 4-1 with 4:48 left. He then added an empty-netter for his team-high fourth goal of the tournament with 1:23 to go.

The series resumes on Friday at 19:00 at the Ralph Engelstad Arena.


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