2021 mu18wc can lat e

U18 Worlds Preview: Canada vs. Latvia

Wednesday, April 28 | 8 p.m. CT | Plano, Texas | Preliminary Round

Jason La Rose
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April 28, 2021
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GAME NOTES: Canada vs. Latvia (April 28)

TV: TSN | TSN Direct

Canada’s National Men’s Under-18 Team continues its quest for a first gold medal at the IIHF U18 World Championship since 2013 on Wednesday night when it faces Latvia in the second of back-to-back Group A contests to open its tournament.

LAST GAME

Canada flexed its offensive muscle in its tournament opener, scoring four times in each period in a convincing 12-1 win over Sweden. Shane Wright led the charge with a hat trick – netting goals at even strength, on the power play and shorthanded – and Brandt Clarke added two goals and two assists. The Canadians chased Swedish starter Carl Lindbom before the 14-minute mark en route to their second-most goals ever at the U18 worlds (Canada set the all-time tournament mark with a 15-1 win over Denmark in 2005).

Latvia was hit with two goals in 23 seconds midway through the first period of its tournament opener on Monday against Switzerland that ended in a 4-2 defeat. Goals from Dans Locmelis and Anri Ravinskis late in the middle frame had Latvia coming out for the third period with a chance after facing a four-goal deficit, but a comeback was not meant to be.

LAST MEETING

If there was a lesson for Canada to take in its last meeting with Latvia at the U18 worlds, it’s this – don’t ever take a team lightly.

Canada edged Latvia 3-1 in the quarterfinals in their most recent meeting at the 2019 tournament in Umeå, Sweden, advancing to the semifinals in spite of relentless effort from their opposition in the final frame after the Canadians went into the intermission after 40 minutes up 2-0 from a five-hole tally by Braden Schneider in the first period and a fortunate face-off bounce for Peyton Krebs in the second.

Harijs Brants pulled the Latvians within one midway through the final frame to set up a nervous last 10 minutes, but Taylor Gauthier made 38 stops and Krebs found the empty net late to secure Canada’s place in the final four.

LATVIA ELEVATING

During that 2019 quarterfinal, Canada received an up-close-and-personal view of Latvia’s growth as a hockey nation. The Baltic country hosted the 2018 IIHF U18 World Championship, Division IA following relegation from the top division the previous year, and didn’t stay down long.

An impressive 5-0 showing with only four goals conceded against sturdy opposition like Germany, Denmark and Norway had the Latvians back at the top level the following year in Sweden, where their quarterfinal defeat to Canada marked their best-ever finish at the tournament.

Latvia head coach Olegs Sorokins, despite a disruptive year for his program and international hockey, is hopeful his team can continue building on their momentum that’s been established. The squad will have an advantage in rest over Canada after having an off-day from competition on Tuesday following Monday’s loss to Switzerland.

“This year, we have made much higher goals for our team, so we’ll see how it goes,” Sorokins says. “It’s not over yet.”

A LOOK BACK

The Canadians are a perfect 4-0 against Latvia, with their 3-1 quarterfinal win in 2019 and a 4-1 victory during the 2017 preliminary round in Poprad, Slovakia telling much different stories than their previous two historical meetings.

The two nations combined for 17 markers in an 11-6 goalfest during the first game of the 2015 IIHF U18 World Championship in Switzerland. You have to go as far back as 2007 to find their meeting before that, when Kyle Turris and Logan Couture each had two goals for Canada in a 9-1 result in Rauma, Finland.

All-time record: Canada leads 4-0
Canada goals: 27
Latvia goals: 9

For more information:

Dominick Saillant
Director, Communications
Hockey Canada
514-895-9706
[email protected]

 

Esther Madziya
Manager, Communications
Hockey Canada
403-284-6484
[email protected]

 

Spencer Sharkey
Manager, Communications
Hockey Canada
Office: 403-777-4567
Mobile: 905-906-5327
[email protected]

 

Videos
Photos
2021 U18WC: CAN 5 – RUS 3 (Gold Medal)
Wright scored twice to lead Canada to its fourth U18 gold medal.
2021 U18WC: CAN 8 – SWE 1 (Semifinal)
Bedard finished with 2G 3A to send Canada into the semifinals.
2021 U18WC: CAN 10 – CZE 3 (Quarterfinal)
Bedard finished with 2G 3A to send Canada into the semifinals.
2021 U18WC: CAN 5 – BLR 2 (Preliminary)
Wright and McTavish scored 2G each to help Canada finish perfect.
Schedule