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Russia rolls to 5-0 win over Latvia

Photo: Andre Ringuette/HHOF-IIHF Images.
Russia's win over Latvia at LANXESS arena marking their third straight shutout. They remain on top of Group A.

Two goals in the first, two in the second, and one more in the third aided Russia’s sixth win, setting up a showdown with Team USA tomorrow to determine first place in the group. 

Latvia was attempting to reverse a two-game losing streak after winning their first three games in the tournament. Today they would come up far short. Further, Latvia has not beaten Russia in World Championship competition since 2004.  

Russia’s offence remained lethal even with changes in the lineup because of new additions to the roster and injuries. Washington Capitals Yevgeni Kuznetsov and Dmitri Orlov both played their first game of the tournament. Sergei Mozyakin has left the competition after suffering an injury against Germany.

"It helped me a lot to get a game today, it's not easy adjusting from one kind of hockey to another," said Kuznetsov. "Tomorrow's game [with the USA] will feel like a playoff game even though it's still the group stage"

Artemi Panarin returned to the lineup and was again a stellar performer. His three assists paced the attack as he teamed with Nikita Kucherov, who had a goal and two assists, and with Vladislav Namestnikov adding a goal.

Latvian goaltender Elvis Merzlikins, who has been outstanding, was given the night off. Ivars Punnenovs was selected to face down the Russian machine. Punnenovs has represented Latvia at U18 and U20 World Championships but this would be his senior men’s debut.


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