Sign in with your NHL account:
  • Submit
  • Or
  • Sign in with Google
Winnipeg Jets NHL Jets Home NHL Jets Facebook NHL Jets Twitter NHL Jets Instagram NHL Jets Official Youtube Page Sign Up for Jets Mail Mobile App Buy Tickets
Reading Takes Flight Buy Tickets Facebook Instagram Manage Your Account Jets Pass HQ

Finland Drops 3-2 Decision to Latvia

Saturday, 10.05.2014 / 12:30 PM / News Articles
By Andy Potts
X
Share with your Friends


Finland Drops 3-2 Decision to Latvia
Seasoned followers of Latvia\'s exploits against top-six opposition know the old narrative only too well. Tradition demands a long spell of brave resistance, out-shot by a factor of around 2-to-1 and a defeat delivered by a heart-breakingly late goal. But Saturday\'s game with Finland, although settled by a narrow margin and featuring an eye-catching goaltending display, went to an entirely different script.

Seasoned followers of Latvia's exploits against top-six opposition know the old narrative only too well. Tradition demands a long spell of brave resistance, out-shot by a factor of around 2-to-1 and a defeat delivered by a heart-breakingly late goal. But Saturday's game with Finland, although settled by a narrow margin and featuring an eye-catching goaltending display, went to an entirely different script.

This time, for long periods, it was Latvia that dominated for long periods before Arturs Kulda put the Baltic state up 3-2 with seven minutes to play. Kulda fired home from the blue line off a pass from the influential Kaspars Daugavins to complete a third-period recovery and seal a shock win.

His strike came less than five minutes after Kristaps Sotnieks hauled Latvia level for a second time with a powerplay goal in the 48th minute. He saw his shot beat the generally impressive Pekka Rinne as Zemgus Girgensons did enough to distract the keeper in the slot.

Finland still had time to lay siege to Edgars Maskalskis in the Latvian goal, setting up a finale which more closely resemebled a traditional Latvia performance. But the best chance, a rebound falling to Jarkko Immonen, was stopped on the line by Sotnieks and Latvia held on for a famous win.

That was no more than the team deserved in a game where both Finnish goals came out of next to nowhere. Indeed Finland's go-ahead goal just after midway came from the team's first shot on target in the entire second period. Tuukka Mantyla's deflection in front of Edgars Maskalskis paid off as Petri Kontiola's effort from the left-hand circle squirmed past an unusually underused Latvian goalie.

Until Daugavins - a tricky forward whose stick-handling was at the heart of much that had been good about his team's play - took a high-sticking penalty the Finns were under the cosh and regularly heading to the sin-bin in this Baltic battle.

And battle was very much the word. Jere Karalahti's juddering hit on Janis Stals after 15 minutes set the tone for a physical clash that saw more than one scuffle break out around Pekka Rinne's goal while the penalty bench was more often occupied than not as a result of a flood of minors.

A lively first period saw the Latvian outsider give as good as it got against a Finland team still working on familiarity after head coach Erkka Westerlund rang the changes from his Sochi bronze-medal roster.

Although the Finns struck first, there was a large element of good fortune in Miika Salomaki's fifth-minute strike. As Latvia's Rodrigo Lavins dithered in front of the net Salomaki pressed the defenceman - but he could hardly have expected a panicky clearance to bounce clean off his skate and find the target.

The second goal of the game also came off a Finnish skate, but this time there was no doubt that the plaudits belonged to Daugavins. The forward showed just why Dynamo Moscow is eager to bring him back to the KHL with a scintillating rush from his own blue line, turning Juuso Hietanen inside out on the face-off spot before whipping in a shot that clipped a defenceman's skate on its way past Pekka Rinne to tie the scores.

But Latvia continued to carve out the better chances, with veteran Aleksandrs Nizivijs working his way into a dangerous position before Kristaps Sotnieks almost got his stick on a tantalising Daugavins pass across the slot and the forward's impressive show continued with another menacing rush that ended with him firing wide from a good position.

The second stanza was one-way traffic early on, with Daugavins in eye-catching form and Rinne performing bravely to keep his goal intact. The goalie's double block after Daugavins got on the end of a neat combination by Guntis Galvins and Miks Indrasis sparked the game's biggest fight, while Indrasis also saw a golden opportunity lose its sparkle in the Nashville Predator's pads. Mantyla's goal threatened to end Latvia's hopes, but a dramatic finale was enough to delight most of the 11,700 crowd which brought a little piece of Riga to Belarus.

SCHEDULE

HOME
AWAY
PROMOTIONAL

STANDINGS

WESTERN CONFERENCE
  TEAM GP W L OT GF GA PTS
1 ANA 66 42 17 7 196 179 91
2 NSH 66 41 18 7 196 162 89
3 STL 64 40 19 5 198 162 85
4 CHI 64 38 21 5 188 152 81
5 MIN 64 35 22 7 181 164 77
6 VAN 64 36 24 4 184 176 76
7 WPG 65 32 21 12 180 175 76
8 CGY 64 35 25 4 182 165 74
9 LAK 64 31 21 12 175 167 74
10 SJS 65 32 25 8 185 183 72
11 DAL 65 29 26 10 203 215 68
12 COL 64 28 25 11 170 183 67
13 ARI 65 21 37 7 142 220 49
14 EDM 64 18 36 10 145 213 46

STATS

2014-2015 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
A. Ladd 65 22 30 13 52
B. Little 65 24 27 10 51
B. Wheeler 63 17 29 13 46
D. Byfuglien 65 15 27 6 42
M. Perreault 56 18 18 3 36
M. Scheifele 65 10 26 2 36
M. Frolik 65 14 20 5 34
D. Stafford 59 11 17 -20 28
J. Tlusty 55 13 11 -19 24
E. Kane 37 10 12 -1 22
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
M. Hutchinson 19 8 5 .918 2.34
O. Pavelec 13 13 7 .909 2.57
 
Join Jets Cadets Kids Club!