Hockey

Latvia stuns Canada 2-0 at world men's hockey championship

Matiss Kivlenieks made 38 saves and host Latvia stunned Canada 2-0 Friday on the opening day of the world men's hockey championship.

Canada entered game without a loss against host country

Latvia's forward Martins Dzierkals tries to score past Canada's goalkeeper Darcy Kuemper during the IIHF Men's Ice Hockey World Championships preliminary round group B match Canada vs Latvia, at the Arena Riga in Riga, on May 21, 2021. (Gints Ivuskans/AFP via Getty Images)

Matiss Kivlenieks made 38 saves and host Latvia stunned Canada 2-0 Friday on the opening day of the world men's hockey championship.

Canada came into the game with 11 wins and a tie all-time against Latvia, including an 11-0 victory in Riga at the 2006 world championship.

This time, however, Canada couldn't find a way to beat Kivlenieks, who plays for the NHL's Columbus Blue Jackets, despite having a sizable advantage in puck possession.

"We have to give Latvia a lot of credit," Canada forward Brandon Pirri said. "We knew they were going to play a good defensive game, and their goalie played really well.

"I think we generated a lot of chances, but this is first time on the larger ice for some of our guys and that can really make a difference."

WATCH | Latvia upsets Canada at world men's hockey championship: 

Historic win for Latvia as they defeat Canada at men's worlds

2 years ago
Duration 2:37
Latvia recorded its first ever victory over Canada at a world hockey championships claiming a 2-0 shutout Friday in Riga, Latvia.

Latvia opened the scoring on a power play with 1.5 seconds left in the first period when Miks Indrasis beat Canadian goaltender Darcy Kuemper between the pads.

Oskars Batna doubled the hosts' lead when Oskars Batna tipped Ronalds Kenins' wobbly shot from the boards past Kuemper.

Kuemper made 15 saves for Canada, which has now lost its last three opening games at the world championship.

"This was our first game we have played together as a group. We had no exhibition games, and I thought we played well given the circumstances," Canada coach Gerard Gallant said. "With a little bit of luck, we could have got a few bounces and it might have been a different game, but overall we will continue to get better as the tournament goes on."

Canada's next game is Sunday against the United States.

In other scores Friday, it was: Russia 4 Czech Republic 3; Germany 9 Italy 4; and Slovakia 5 Belarus 2.

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