The second pair of quarter-finals was on the schedule at the world championships today. Latvia looked for a monumental upset of Canada while Sweden was battling the Czech Republic for a birth in the final four.
Canada 4 vs. Latvia 2 – It was closer than it should have been but that’s what happens when you underestimate your opposition. Canada played down to the level of Latvia for the first half of the game but eventually turned up the jets and won the game. Edgars Masalskis made 44 saves to keep the Latvians in the game. Despite the high shot total, the Canadians never had many good chances until the mid-point of the second period. Until Canada got going later on, the Latvians were able to match Canada stride for stride. Steve Stamkos and Dan Hamhuis led the way offensively with a goal and assist each. Dany Heatley and Matt Lombardi had the other Canadian goals. Herberts Vasiljevs and Guntis Galvins scored the pair of Latvian goals. Canada moves on to the semi-final round against Sweden.
Sweden 3 vs. Czech Republic 1 – A battle between two European rivals that are better known for offense firepower turned into a goaltenders duel. Sweden’s Jonas Gustavsson made 33 saves to out duel Jakub Stepanek for the win. Like the other four semi-final games, the first period was scoreless but Sweden scored two power play goals in the second period to take the lead. The Czech’s looked like they were back in the game when Petr Cajanek scored a shorthanded goal with 11 minutes to go. However, Stepanek let in a soft goal to Kenny Jonsson to seal the deal for the Swedes. The other Swedish goal scorers were Matthias Weinhandl and Dick Tarnstrom. With the quarter-final win, Sweden moves on to face the Canadians in tomorrow’s semi-final round.
Three Stars of the Day:
1. Steve Stamkos (Canada) – 1 goal, 1 assist
2. Matthias Weinhandl (Sweden) – 1 goal, 1 assist
3. Edgars Masalskis (Latvia) – 44 saves
Russia vs. USA
Canada vs. Sweden