Sweden tops Latvia 5-1
Team Sweden looked a bit shaky early but finished the game by pelting 46 shots at Ivars Punnenovs for the Latvians, who kept his team in the game for a period and a half.
Latvia could not take advantage of a couple power-plays in the first period before losing their composure by taking two simultaneous penalties at the 18:49 mark, giving Sweden a late chance with the two-man advantage. Emil Molin potted a goal a few seconds later at the 19:10 mark to give Sweden the 1-0 lead going into the first break.
The Second period started very similar to the first with the Latvians carrying play early and getting rewarded at the 3:50 mark with a Teodors Blugers power-play goal to tie things up at 1-1. Latvian goaltender, Ivar Punnenovs kept the Swedes off the score sheet after the Swedes got five shots through on a power-play mid-way through the second period. Team Sweden would not be denied with another chance on the power-play after a Roberts Lipsbergs hooking call. Sebastian Collberg gave them a 2-1 lead at the 16:18 mark of the second period.
Latvia and Sweden came out in the third and both teams looked sloppy early. Play was carried mostly through the neutral zone before Viktor Arvidsson extended Sweden's lead to two goals and they never looked back, beating Latvia 5-1, keeping them at the top of Group A with eight points.
The Swedes have allowed just three goals in three games so far on the defensive side of the puck. Offensively, the Swedes have scored 12 goals, last year they had 22 goals through three games.
Latvia lost all three of its previous WJHC contests with Sweden by crooked scores: 10-2 (Dec 30, 2005), 10-1 (Dec 29, 2008), and 9-4 (Dec 26, 2011).
The loss keeps Latvia last place in Group A standings with zero points. The relegation round seems inevitable for them with a tough matchup versus the Czechs on Sunday.
Sweden will have to improve on the ice considerably when they play the rival Finnish team on New Years Eve.