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Old 05-04-2007, 07:18 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Default Latvia cruises past Ukraine 5-0

Latvia cruises past Ukraine 5-0
By John Sanful

MYTISCHI--Three points. For Latvia and Ukraine, a win to start the Relegation Round would put either team in a strong position with two games remaining, and give them a chance to avoid being sent to Division I.

On this night, the Latvians would claim the three points by defeating Ukraine 5-0. Martins Cipulis's first-period goal was all they would need as the Ukrainian offense could barely muster an effective chance on the evening.

Oleg Sorokins added two goals and an assist in one of his finest performances in tournament competition.

The experience of fighting to remain among the elite 16 nations is one the Latvians have not had in many years. The last time they faced the possibility of relegation was at the 2001 IIHF World Championship in Germany.

Determined to come out and establish the tempo, Latvia took the attack right to Ukraine.

"They do not have a good team this year, and we played well," said Daugavins. "We deserved to win."

At 8:58 Martins Cipulis, put Latvia on the board with a slapshot that whistled high over Ukrainian goaltender Vadym Seliverstov. It was his first goal of the tournament. Kaspar Daugavins, who's one of several exceptional young players for Latvia, assisted on the goal.

"They do not have a good team this year, and we played well," said Daugavins. "We deserved to win."

As usual, Ukraine could not stay out of the penalty box. In the first period they were called for four minor penalties. The last one hurt. Oleg Shafarenko was called for hooking at 17:22, and ten seconds into the power play, Latvia's Agris Saviels scored. Herbert Vasilijevs sent a pass to Guntis Galvins, who fired a low slapper on goal. Seliverstov made the stop, but could not control the rebound that was put home by Saviels to make it 2-0.

"We thought they would come out a little harder, but we got a couple of lucky bounces and got the early lead," said Saviels.

Latvia continued to press. Mikelis Redlihs made a nifty move to the net and hit the post on one chance.


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