MOSCOW, May 15. /TASS/. The Russian national ice hockey team is still on a solid track of victories taking its sixth straight win at the 2017 IIHF (International Ice Hockey Federation) World Championship after blanking Team Latvia 5-0 in Germany’s Cologne on Monday night.
Both teams hit the ice on Monday night at the German ice palace in Cologne with a high-octane offense of the Russian squad against rivals Latvia.
However, Russia’s persistent attacks on the opponents’ goal yielded no results for the most of the first period due to the solid defense of the Latvian team and its goaltender Ivars Punnenovs.
HIGHLIGHTS: @russiahockey_en remained unbeaten at #IIHFWorlds, with a convincing win over Latvia. More > https://t.co/C97F8B7YaM pic.twitter.com/GWsWudzz9q— IIHF (@IIHFHockey) 15 May 2017
Less than eight minutes remaining in the opening period, the score was opened by Russian forward Bogdan Kiselevich’s backslap shot into Latvia’s net.
Six minutes later, Russia’s Ivan Telegin put another puck into the Latvian goal lifting his team’s advantage in score over the opponents to 2-0, which remained unchanged as the rivals retreated to their locker rooms before the start of the middle period.
The opening minute of the following period saw Russia’s Vladislav Namestnikov scoring another goal for his team to secure a 3-0 temporary superiority over the Latvians.
The Latvian team had opportunities of scoring in the two ensuing power-plays during the second period, but Russia’s Nikita Kucherov flashed a stunning puck into the Latvian goal with only a minute left before the break ahead of the closing period - 4:0 (Russia winning).
It was an intense affair against Latvia in Cologne today! Make sure you enjoy our photo gallery: https://t.co/3v1PGQ0nbX pic.twitter.com/eFZDwWbYx8— Russia Hockey (@russiahockey_en) 15 May 2017
"We certainly had drawbacks, but managed to keep the defense," Namestnikov said in a blitz interview with Russia’s Match-TV television channel before the third period of the match against Latvia. "All of the players are on the roll and we should maintain pressing."
The Russians kept with the pressure in the closing period, but it took them about 14 minutes before Anton Belov scored another goal for his team notching the score up to 5-0, which kept flashing on the scoreboard until the final siren.
The so-called ‘Red Machine’ started this year’s global tournament with an edgy penalty shootout win over Sweden (2-1) to proceed further with confident marches over Italy (10-1), Germany (6-3), Denmark (3-0), Slovakia (6-0) and Latvia (5-0).
Boasting an impressive record of 32 scored and five missed goals, the Russians are scheduled to meet the team from the United States on Tuesday night to wrap up its group stage voyage to the knock-out period of the global ice hockey championship.
The 2017 IIHF tournament is held in Germany’s Cologne at its 18,500-seat Lanxess Arena and in the French capital at the Bercy 14,500-seat venue from May 5 through May 21, 2017.
Cologne is hosting 34 games, including Group A, two quarter-finals and all semi-final and medal games. Paris is hosting 30 games, including all games of Group B and two quarter-final games.
Group A in Cologne includes last year’s IIHF championship host and bronze medalist Russia, which was ranked second in the 2016 IIHF Men’s World Ranking, as well as Team USA, Sweden, Slovakia, Germany, Latvia, Denmark and Italy.
Defending champion Canada is playing in Group B in Paris, where they had been squared off against last year’s silver-medal winners Finland, the Czech Republic, Switzerland, Belarus, Norway, France and Slovenia.