Archive for Latvia national team

Germany 2 – Latvia 0


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A well-taken goal scored eight minutes into the second period as well as another flawless performance at the back propelled rebounding GERMANY to a 2-0 shutout triumph over successful Olympic qualifiers LATVIA in a pivotal meeting involving the bottom two teams of the Helsinki-based group at the 2013 IIHF World Championships.

The Latvia side trained by Canadian legionnaire TED NOLAN, the rugged left winger who skated 78 games (6 go, 22 pts, 105 pim) in the National Hockey League for the Detroit Red Wings and Pittsburgh Penguins before later serving as head coach of the Buffalo Sabres for two seasons in the late 1990s, was returning fourteen players from the squad that upended Germany 3-2 at the annual IIHF tournament twelve months ago. The Latvians were also entering this latest match with the Germans fresh from its first win at the 2013 IIHF World Championships, a 5-3 decision over last season’s silver medalist Slovakia. LAURIS DARZINS of Russian Kontinental Hockey League club Ak Bars Kazan, the 28-year-old left wing who had appeared at seven major international tournaments (38 ga, 11 go, 15 pts) for Latvia before missing the annual IIHF affair last season after suffering through an injury-plagued campaign, led the way with three goals against the Slovaks.

The German side trained by Canadian legionnaire PAT CORTINA arrived to face the Latvians having also just registered its first win at this year’s IIHF World Championships, a 2-0 whitewash of the very same Austrian team that had already dumped the Latvians 6-3 earlier in the tournament. With the number of Group H matches starting to dwindle rapidly, the Germany v Latvia result was guaranteed to have an enormous impact on the race to avoid the automatic relegation that accompanies finishing last in the Helsinki pool. There is no doubt that Cortina simply can not continue in his role as the national team trainer of Deutschland should the Germans fail to remain in the top tier at the annual IIHF World Championships.

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Latvia captain LAURIS DARZINS (10) of Russian KHL club Ak Bars Kazan, the ninth round pick (# 268 overall) of the Nashville Predators at the 2003 National Hockey League Draft, is harassed by the German pair of center PATRICK HAGER (50) of ERC Ingolstadt and defenseman JUSTIN KRUEGER (3) from the American Hockey League’s Charlotte Checkers during the IIHF World Championships – Group H contest at the Hartwall Arena in Helsinki, Finland.
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As was the case in the preceding contest with Austria, the Germans were forced to skate shorthanded two players in the first period against the Latvians after right wing FELIX SCHUETZ of Koelner Haie and center PATRICK HAGER of ERC Ingolstadt were both assessed tripping penalties within three seconds of each other; Latvia’s two-man advantage on the power play lasted just over a minute, however, after right wing MARTINS CIPULIS of Czech KHL outfit HC Lev Praha was, himself, sent to the box for tripping.

The Latvians had what was, perhaps, the best chance in a wide open first twenty minutes which saw the two teams almost evenly divide the thirty shots that found their target. Left wing MIKS INDRASIS of Dynamo Riga broke away late in the period but was denied at the very last second by the outstretched leg of Germany netminder ROB ZEPP of Deutsche Eishockey Liga champion Eisbaeren Berlin. Germany center MARCEL GOC of the National Hockey League’s Florida Panthers was charged with slashing on the play but the Latvians were, once again, unable to convert on the ensuing power play.

At the other end of the ice in Helsinki, meanwhile, the Latvians were getting a good game out of inexperienced goaltender KRISTERS GUDLEVSKIS of Dynamo Riga. The 20-year-old had become the third different goaltender to start between the pipes for Latvia at this 2013 IIHF World Championships when sent out by the trainer Nolan to make his debut at a major international tournament in the match with Slovakia. Gudlevskis, who spent most of this 2012/13 campaign tending the nets for HK Riga in the so-called Minor Hockey League (a developmental circuit for the Kontinental Hockey League), turned aside 14 German shots in the opening period.

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Germany completely dictated the flow of traffic while putting on an outstanding display of organization and discipline on defense in the second period of play. The Latvians, who had snapped a streak of seven consecutive losses at the annual IIHF World Championships with the win over Slovakia, would be limited to a mere four shots on goal. Fittingly, it was the player on Cortina’s roster with the most career international appearances for Deutschland who shot Germany into the lead nearing the halfway point of the contest at the Hartwall Arena.

Immediately following a face-off at the right circle, winger PHILIP GOGULLA of Koelner Haie, the former Buffalo Sabres farmhand who had compiled 18 assists in 39 career games for Germany at major international tournaments heading into this year’s tournament in Finland, circled all the way around the Latvian net before finding former D.E.L. teammate CHRISTOPH ULLMANN in the slot with a perfect backhand feed. A textbook finish from the 29-year-old Adler Mannheim center who was wearing the German sweater for the 136th time in his career left Gudelskis absolutely no chance whatsoever. And so, Ullmann’s fifth goal on his 49th appearance for Deutschland at a major international tournament left the Latvians trailing at the 8:05 mark of the second period.

Latvia went on the power play for the fourth time, officially, after TORSTEN ANKERT of Koelner Haie, the 24-year-old defenseman who is appearing at his first major international tournament for Germany, was penalized for holding five and a half minutes later. But with Zepp in fine form and the entire defensive corps about to help Germany record back-to-back shutouts for the first time in 77 years, it made little difference. Thus, the Germans were able to successfully kill off a penalty for the 15th consecutive time going all the way back to the opening contest with host nation Finland.

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The diminutive (5’10″ 176 lbs) Hager, who registered nine goals and 29 points in 52 D.E.L. games after transferring to ERC Ingolstadt from Krefeld Pinguine last summer, put the Latvians in a deep hole three minutes into the third period. After taking a short pass from NHL-Star defenseman CHRISTIAN EHRHOFF of the Buffalo Sabres in center ice and steaming into the offensive zone, the enterprising, 24-year-old center promptly unleashed a wrist shot that took a slight deflection off the ankle of Latvia defenseman MARIS JASS of German D.E.L. side Hannover Scorpions and flew perfectly into the upper left hand corner of the net. Indeed, the strike marked Hager’s first ever goal for Germany at a major international event.

There would be no way back for Latvia, who remained at the bottom of Group H having taken just three points from its first five games. Aside from three more points in the standings for the Helsinki pool, Germany improved its all-time record against the Latvians to six wins against three losses with one tie. Latvia blanked the Germans in consecutive meetings at the IIHF World Championships in 1998 and 1999 but had not been shutout, themselves, by Deutschland at a major international tournament since 1938.

“I think we just stayed true to ourselves. Nothing comes easy for this team. We have to work hard at it for sixty minutes. We made a few mistakes in the first few games but I think we’ve limited them in the last two,” stated Zepp, who finished with 26 saves, after turning in his second consecutive clean sheet for Germany.

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Germany netminder ROB ZEPP (72) of Eisbaeren Berlin, the native Canadian who has posted standout numbers in his first eight games (1.67 avg, .948 save pct) for Deutschland at major international tournaments, prepares to smother the puck as Adler Mannheim center and game-winning goal-scorer CHRISTOPH ULLMANN (47) diligently shileds attacking Latvia left wing MIK INDRASIS (70) of Dynamo Riga.
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IIHF World Championships
Group H – Helsinki, Finland
Hartwall Arena – attendance : 9,199
referees – Croft (United States) and Reiber (Switzerland)

GERMANY 2 – LATVIA 0

28:05 … GER – Ullmann (Gogulla, Wolf)
43:05 … GER – Hager (Ehrhoff, N. Goc)

shots-on-goal : GER 34 – LAT 26 … penalty minutes : LAT 33 – GER 8

GERMANY : Zepp – Ankert, Ehrhoff ; N. Goc, Mueller ; Baxmann, Hoerdler ; Krueger – Rankel, M. Goc, Schuetz ; Gogulla, Ullmann, Wolf ; Seidenberg, Kink, Tripp ; Greilinger, Hager, Mauer ; Pietta

LATVIA : Gudlevskis – Sotnieks, Redlihs ; Freiburgs, Kulda ; M. Jass, Andersons – Darzins, Sprukts, Cipulis ; Indrasis, Dzerins, Meija ; Kenins, Berzins, Jekimovs ; Sirokovs, Pavlovs, Stals ; K. Jass

NOTES — Germany captain CHRISTIAN EHRHOFF totaled 27:22 of ice time while new arrival JUSTIN KRUEGER of the American Hockey League’s Charlotte Checkers, operating in the role as the ‘seventh’ defenseman for Deutschland, was the third-most utilized blueliner by trainer PAT CORTINA having logged 15:05 of ice time. Eisbaeren Berlin defender FRANK HOERDLER, who was chosen as the player of the game for Germany, skated 18:35 in the contest with Latvia. NHL legionnaire MARCEL GOC led all German forwards with 16:38 of ice time, exactly four seconds more than Adler Mannheim left wing YANNIC SEIDENBERG.

Germany last recorded back-to-back shutouts at a major international event by defeating Alpine neighbors Italy (3-0) and Switzerland (2-0) at the IV Winter Olympic Games held at Garmisch-Partenkirchen in 1936.

Latvia center ZEMGUS GIRGENSONS, the first round selection (# 14 overall) of the Buffalo Sabres at the 2012 NHL Draft who spent his entire rookie professional season skating for the Rochester Americans (60 ga, 6 go, 17 pts) in the AHL, sat out his one-game suspension earned a for butt-ending incident in the preceding contest against Slovakia.

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No Trouble For Experienced Latvia In Riga


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Latvia captain SANDIS OZOLINS (8), the 40-year-old veteran defenseman who previously contested 875 games (167 go, 564 pts) in the National Hockey League and celebrated the Stanley Cup title with Colorado Avalanche in 1996, threatens the Great Britain goal during the XXII Winter Olympic Games – Group E qualfication clash at the Arena Riga in the Baltic region.
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Unlike the other two countries that hosted qualification tournaments in February of 2013 for the XXII Winter Olympic Games to be held in Russia next season, the national team of LATVIA were not really affected at all by the resolution of the so-called “Lock-Out” situation in the National Hockey League just after the New Year. The Germans, to review, had to skate at Bietigheim-Bissingen minus the services of seven current NHL players while the Danes soldiered on at Vojens unable to utilize six NHL regulars. Now under the direction of Canadian trainer TED NOLAN, himself a former NHL forward who later became the head coach of both the Buffalo Sabres and New York Islanders, the Latvians had no such selection troubles for their Olympic Qualification Tournament in Riga .

This because KASPAR DAUGAVINS, the 24-year-old Ottawa Senators winger who skated in all seven games (1 go, 1 as) for Latvia at the 2012 IIHF World Championships in Scandinavia last spring, is the only Latvian performer in the entire 30-team NHL this term.

The wiley Nolan, who took over behind the bench for the national team of Latvia at the start of last season after replacing former Boston Bruins farmhand OLEGS ZNAROKS, loaded up his squad for the qualification tournament at the Arena Riga with fourteen veterans who had already appeared at the 2010 Winter Olympic Games held in the western Canadian city of Vancouver. Furthermore, defenseman SANDIS OZOLINS of Russian Kontinental Hockey League club Atlant Mytischy Moscow, the highly experienced 40-year-old who skated for Latvia in the final tournaments of both the 2002 and 2006 Winter Olympic Games, was coaxed out of international retirement. 37-year-old right wing ALEKSANDRS NIZVIJS of Czech side HC Lev Sparta Praha, the three-time Olympian who happens to be the all-time leading scorer for Latvia at major international tournaments (16 appearances, 92 games, 17 goals, 49 points), was also recalled to the national team for the vital Olympic qualification tournament by the calculating Nolan.

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Latvia defenseman OSKARS BARTULIS (37), the 26-year-old rearguard who just spent the previous five seasons in the Philadelphia Flyers organziation before signing with Ukrainian side HC Donbass Donetsk this past summer, cuts the puck back against Great Britain’s legionnaire blueliner BEN O’CONNOR (17) of Kazakhstan club Artan Kokshetau during the XXII Winter Olympic Games – Group E Qualification Tournament contest at the Arena Riga.
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Not including the captain Ozolins, five of the six defensemen selected by Nolan for the Olympic qualification tournament in Riga were returning veterans of the 2010 Vancouver Games. Three of those five defenders — GEORGIJS PUJACS of Russian KHL club Avangard Omsk along with the Dynamo Riga pair of KRISJANIS REDLIHS and ARVIDS REKIS — are two-time Olympians, in fact, having also manned the blue line for Latvia at the 2006 Turin Games in the Italian Alps. The one Olympic newcomer at the back, 24-year-old ARTURS KULDA of Russian club Sibir Novosibirsk, appeared for Latvia at the annual IIHF World Championships in both 2010 as well as 2011 before skating in nine NHL games (0 go, 0 pts, +3 def rating) for the Winnipeg Jets last season.

Nolan also wisely persisted with EDGARS MASALSKIS, the experienced national team veteran currently in Russia with first-year KHL club HC Yugra Khanty-Mansiysk, between the pipes for the Olympic qualificaton tournament at the Arena Riga. The 32-year-old shot-stopper, who has already been a member of all three Latvian squads to have appeared at the Winter Olympic Games (2002, 2006 and 2010) in history, has played in 40 of Latvia’s last 42 games at all major international tournaments beginning with the 2007 IIHF World Championships staged in the Russian capital city of Moscow. Masalskis rewarded the Canadian trainer’s faith with solid, if unspectacular, play for host Latvia (3 ga, 2.28 avg, .895 svpct) throughout the Olympic qualification tournament in Riga.

Latvia, in part confirmed by the 3-2 triumph over Kazakhstan during the Olympic qualfication tournament in Riga, have easily been the most successful of all the former Soviet Socialist Republics not named Russia at major international ice hockey tournaments since the collapse of the old U.S.S.R. in 1991. The Latvians, to review, have never been relegated from the top flight of the annual IIHF World Championships since returning after a complicated absence of fifty-eight years in 1997. And, although it was Belarus that shocked the heavily-favored Swedes in the quarterfinals of the 2002 Salt Lake City Games, it is Latvia who will be making a fourth consecutive appearance in front of the world at the final tournament of the Olympic ice hockey competition next year in Sochi, Russia.

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Latvia Will Play Olympic Hockey In Russia


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From left to right, the flags of GREAT BRITAIN, KAZAKHSTAN, FRANCE and home favorite LATVIA hang down from the rafters alongside the International Ice Hockey Federation banner during the dramatic final XXII Winter Olympic Games – Group E qualfication contest between the French and the tournament host at the jampacked Arena Riga.
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XXII Winter Olympic Games
Group E – Qualification Tournament
Riga, Latvia
February 7-10, 2013

Kazakhstan 3 – France 2 …………….. 825 spectators
Latvia 6 – Great Britain 2 ………….. 5,058 spectators
France 4 – Great Britain 2 …………… 922 spectators
Latvia 3 – Kazakhstan 2 ………….. 10,025 spectators
Kazakhstan 6 – Great Britain 0 ……… 875 spectators
France 3 – Latvia 2 … (ot) ……….. 10,190 spectators

final standings
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LATVIA ……………. 7 points … 11-6 goals for/against
Kazakhstan ……….. 6 points … 11-5 goals for/against
France …………….. 5 points ….. 9-7 goals for/against
Great Britain ………. 0 points …. 4-16 goals for/against

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France’s versatile defenseman YOHAN AUVITU (18) of Finnish elite league side JYP Jyvaskyla and Kazakhstan goaltender VITALI KOLESNIK (20) of Russian Kontinental Hockey League club Lokomotiv Yaroslavl pose for the traditional post-game photograph after being selected as “Best Players” for their respective teams after the Kazakhs nipped the French 3-2 in the opening match of the XXII Winter Olympic Games – Group E Qualficiation Tournament at the Arena Riga in Latvia.
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FRANCE shot themselves in the foot by losing 3-2 to KAZAKHSTAN on the opening day of the XXII Winter Olympic Games – Group E Qualification Tournament at the Arena Riga in the Baltic region. Despite piling up a 38-19 advantage in the shots-on-goal department, the French were consistently unable to get past goaltender VITALI KOLESNIK, the 33-year-old veteran who made eight appearances (3.24 avg, .888 save pct) for the Colorado Avalanche during the 2005/06 National Hockey League campaign. France, in direct contrast, received a rather sub-par performance in between the pipes from its NHL veteran, CRISTOBAL HUET of Swiss Nationalliga B side HC Lausanne, the experienced 37-year-old veteran who previously appeared in 48 NHL games (2.50 avg, .895 save pct) during the 2009/10 season for the Stanley Cup champion Chicago Black Hawks.

France would come to regret this result tremendously, as it, ultimately, relegated trainer DAVE HENDERSON’s side to the role of spoiler for its third and final Olympic qualification contest against tournament host Latvia.

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Latvia center GINTS MEIJA (87) of Kontinental Hockey League club Dynamo Riga fails to re-direct the puck deflect as Kazakhstan starting goaltender VITALI KOLESNIK (20) of Russian KHL side Toropedo Yaroslavl, the veteran of the 2006 Winter Olympic Games in Turin, Italy, who made four appearances for the Kazakhs (5.18 avg, .895 save pct) at the 2012 IIHF World Championships in Scandinavia last spring, makes his one and only save of the critical Olympic qualification match with the host nation at the Arena Riga but the former Colorado Avalanche netminder’s fortunes are about to take a dramatic turn for the worse in only a matter of mere moments …
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Latvia right wing JURIS STALS (60) of Slovakian side HK SKP Poprad, the very well-traveled 30-year-old who was the ninth round selection (# 269 overall) of the New York Rangers at the 2001 National Hockey League Draft and spent four seasons skating professionally in North America but never advanced higher than the American Hockey League, sweeps a backhand shot past Kazakhstan defenseman VIKTOR ALEXANDROV (23) of Barys Astana and opens the scoring less than two minutes into the pressure-packed Olympic qualification contest between the two former states of the dissolved Union of Soviet Socialist Republics at the Arena Riga.
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Kazakhstan, meanwhile, could not maintain momentum in its next match and fell behind quickly to the Latvians when Kolesnik conceded two goals with less than three full minutes having run off the clock. Kazakhstan trainer VLADIMIR KRIKUNOV, the former U.S.S.R. national team defenseman who participated at the inaugural Canada Cup tournament in 1976 and later served as the head coach of Belarus at the 2002 Winter Olympic Games in the United States, immediately dispatched aging backup VITALI YEREMEYEV, the 37-year-old veteran who appeared in four NHL games (4.53 avg, .846 save pct) for the New York Rangers during the 2000/01 season, from the bench to stop the bleeding (and 30 of 31 shots put on target by Latvia). But a strike just forty seconds into the third period from right wing LAURIS DARZINS of Russian club Ak Bars Kazan, the 27-year-old who scored a goal in all three of Latvia’s Olympic qualifying contests at the Arena Riga, proved to spell Kazakhstan’s doom.

The French might have still provided the Kazakhs with a ticket to the final tournament at the 2014 Winter Olympic Games in Sochi and tallied two unanswered goals against the Latvians in the first period of the last qualifying match at the Arena Riga. The home side under the direction of Canadian trainer TED NOLAN, however, only needed a draw by the end of regulation in order to book its place in Russia next year. Perhaps settled by Latvia’s circumstances, Darzins scored with roughly five minutes to play in the second period and NHL veteran MARTINS KARSUMS of Dynamo Riga netted just twelve seconds into the final frame.

Henderson’s team would, in fact, eventually score again — but not until after regulation time (and French hopes of a first appearance at the final Olympic tournament in over a decade) had already expired.

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Latvia right wing MARTINS KARSUMS (15) of Dynamo Riga, the former Boston Bruins’ second round draft choice (2004, # 64 overall) who managed to score exactly one goal in 24 career National Hockey League appearances for the Bs and Tampa Bay Lightning before departing for the Baltic region in January of 2010, celebrates the strike against France at the Arena Riga that will soon punch the host side’s ticket to the final tournament of the men’s ice hockey competition at the 2014 Winter Olympic Games in Sochi, Russia.

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Latvia National Team : Top 15 Points All-Time

ALEKSANDRS NIZIVIJS (17) is Latvia's all-time leading scorer at major international ice hockey events. Here, the 33-year-old Dynamo Riga right wing is pursued by Canada's MATTHEW LOMBARDI at the 2009 IIHF World Championships in Switzerland.

ALEKSANDRS NIZIVIJS (17) is Latvia's all-time leading scorer at major international ice hockey events. Here, the 33-year-old Dynamo Riga right wing is pursued by Canada's MATTHEW LOMBARDI at the 2009 IIHF World Championships in Switzerland.

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LATVIA NATIONAL TEAM — all-time major international tournaments

  • 40 pts – 15 go – 25 as — 13 app — Aleksandrs NIZIVIJS
  • 36 pts – 17 go – 19 as — 13 app — Leonids TAMBIJEVS
  • 30 pts – 15 go – 15 as —– 9 app — Aleksandrs KERCS
  • 28 pts – 11 go – 17 as — 12 app — Aigars CIPRUSS
  • 28 pts – 18 go – 10 as — 13 app — Aleksandrs SEMJONOVS
  • 26 pts – 14 go – 12 as —– 7 app — Aleksandrs BELAVSKIS
  • 25 pts – 15 go – 10 as —– 5 app — Sergejs ZOLTOKS
  • 25 pts – 10 go – 15 as —– 7 app — Harijs VITOLINS
  • 24 pts — 9 go – 15 as — 10 app — Grigorijs PANTELEEVS
  • 23 pts – 11 go – 12 as — 10 app — Karlis SKRASTINS
  • 22 pts – 12 go – 10 as —– 7 app — Vjacheslavs FANDULS
  • 22 pts — 9 go – 13 as —– 9 app — Herberts VASILJEVS
  • 22 pts — 4 go – 18 as — 12 app — Rodrigo LAVINS
  • 21 pts — 9 go – 12 as —– 6 app — Martins CIPULIS
  • 19 pts — 4 go – 15 as —– 5 app — Sandis OZOLINS

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Latvia – Rolf’s Roster Picks

LAURIS DARZINS (10) shoots past Finnish goalie NIKLAS BACKSTROM to give Latvia an early 1-0 lead in the qualification round at the 2008 IIHF World Championships in Canada. Finland eventually rallied for a 2-1 victory over Lativa. Darzins, 24, is a legitimte young goal scorer on the wing for Latvia, with nine markers in 25 matches at major international events.

LAURIS DARZINS (10) shoots past Finnish goalie NIKLAS BACKSTROM to give Latvia an early 1-0 lead in the qualification round at the 2008 IIHF World Championships in Canada. Finland eventually rallied for a 2-1 victory over Lativa. Darzins, 24, is a legitimte young goal scorer on the wing for Latvia, with nine markers in 25 matches at major international events.

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According to the International Ice Hockey Federation, the Olympic roster for the national team of Latvia is set to be released December 29.

LATVIA OLYMPIC SQUAD — Rolf’s roster picks

Goaltenders

  • 10 app – 21 ga — 29 – Edgar MASALSKIS — Dynamo Riga
  • 2 app —– 0 ga — 29 – Dmitrijs ZABOTINSKIS — Metalurgs Liepaja
  • 0 app —– 0 ga — 25 – Ervins MUSTUKOVS — Dynamo Jrs Riga

Defensemen

  • 12 app – 72 ga — 35 – Rodrigo LAVINS — Dynamo Riga
  • 10 app – 58 ga — 35 – Karlis SKRASTINS — DALLAS
  • 6 app — 37 ga — 28 – Krisjanis REDLIHS — Dynamo Riga
  • 5 app — 31 ga — 23 – Guntis GALVINS — Dynamo Riga
  • 5 app — 29 ga — 28 – Georgijs PUJACS — Sibir Novosibirsk
  • 4 app — 24 ga — 25 – Aleks YEROFEYEVS — Mtlrg Novokuznetsk
  • 4 app — 15 ga — 37 – Sandis OZOLINS — Dynamo Riga
  • 1 app —– 4 ga — 22 – Oskars BARTULIS — PHILADELPHIA

Centers

  • 9 app – 49 ga — 33 – Herberts VASILJEVS — EV Krefeld
  • 7 app – 41 ga — 27 – Janis SPRUKTS — Dynamo Riga
  • 7 app – 39 ga — 28 – Aleksejs SIROKOVS — Amur Khabarovsk
  • 4 app – 24 ga — 26 – Armands BERZINS — Dynamo Riga

Right Wings

  • 13 app – 76 ga — 33 – Aleksandrs NIZIVIJS — Dynamo Riga
  • 6 app — 36 ga — 25 – Mikelis REDLIHS — Dynamo Riga
  • 2 app —– 8 ga — 23 – Martins KARSUMS — Norfolk (AHL)
  • 0 app —– 0 ga — 22 – Kaspars SAULIETIS — Dynamo Minsk

Left Wings

  • 6 app – 36 ga — 29 – Martins CIPULIS — Dynamo Riga
  • 4 app – 25 ga — 24 – Lauris DARZINS — Dynamo Riga
  • 4 app – 24 ga — 34 – Girts ANKIPANS — Dynamo Riga
  • 3 app – 15 ga — 21 – Kaspars DAUGAVINS — Binghamton (AHL)

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One player who did not appear on Lativas’ preliminary roster was center ARMANDS BERZINS of Dynamo Riga.

The 26-year-old was a fifth round NHL draft pick (# 155 overall) of the Minnesota Wild in 2002 who has played two seasons each of Canadian junior hockey (with the Shawinigan Cataractes – QMJHL) and North American minor league pro (in the ECHL for the Louisiana Gators and Wheeling Nailers).

Berzins also has a campaign under his belt from the Czech elite league (HC Vsetin) in addition to a spell in the Slovak elite league (HK Nitra).

Berzins has split this season between Dynamo Riga (22 ga, 1 go 1 as, 2 pts) in the Kontinental Hockey League and Dynamo Jrs Riga (13 ga, 2 go 5 as, 7 pts) in the Belarus elite league.

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Latvia’s Preliminary Olympic Roster

Stanley Cup champion SANDIS OZOLINS is heavily experienced having played 875 National Hockey League games (167 go 397 as, 564 pts). The 37-year-old two-time Olympic veteran (6 ga, 1 go 7 as, 8 pts) was once a world-class offensive threat on the blueline. Ozolins has four goals and 12 points in 23 games this season for Dynamo Riga in the Kontinental Hockey League.

Stanley Cup champion SANDIS OZOLINS is heavily experienced having played 875 National Hockey League games (167 go 397 as, 564 pts). The 37-year-old two-time Olympic veteran (6 ga, 1 go 7 as, 8 pts) was once a world-class offensive threat on the blueline. Ozolins has four goals and 12 points in 23 games this season for Dynamo Riga in the Kontinental Hockey League.

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LATVIA PRELIMINARY ROSTER

Goaltenders

  • 40 — 5’10″ 180 lb — Sergejs NAUMOVS — Dynamo Jrs. Riga
  • 29 — 5’10″ 175 lb — Edgars MASALSKIS — Dynamo Riga
  • 29 — 5’9″ 176 lb — Dmitrijs ZABOTINSKIS — Metlaurgs Liepaja
  • 25 — 6’2″ 165 lb — Ervins MUSTUKOVS — Dynamo Jrs. Riga
  • 23 — 6’1″ 160 lb — Ugis AVOTINS — HK Ogre
  • 20 — 5’11″ 180 lb — Nauris ENKUZENS — Dynamo Jrs. Riga  

Defensemen

  • 37 — 6’3″ 205 lb — Sandis OZOLINS — Dynamo Riga
  • 35 — 6’1″ 208 lb — Karlis SKRASTINS — DALLAS
  • 35 — 5’10″ 185 lb — Rodrigo LAVINS — Dynamo Riga
  • 35 — 5’10″ 180 lb — Olegs SOROKINS — Dynamo Riga
  • 33 — 6’3″ 220 lb — Atvars TRIBUNCOVS — HC Karlovy Vary
  • 30 — 6’0″ 205 lb — Arvids REKIS — EHC Wolfsburg
  • 28 — 6’1″ 210 lb — Georgijs PUJACS — Sibir Novosibirsk
  • 28 — 6’2″ 190 lb — Krisjanis REDLIHS — Dynamo Riga
  • 27 — 6’1″ 190 lb — Jekabs REDLIHS — Dynamo Riga
  • 27 — 6’2″ 200 lb — Agris SAVIELS — Metallurg Zhlobin
  • 27 — 5’11″ 190 lb — Maksims SIROKOVS — HK Nitra 
  • 25 — 6’2″ 190 lb — Aleksdrs YEROFEYEVS — Mtlrg  Novokuznetsk
  • 23 — 6’1″ 190 lb — Guntis GALVINS — Dynamo Riga 
  • 23 — 6’2″ 194 lb — Janis ANDERSONS — HC Trinec
  • 22 — 6’2″ 184 lb — Oskars BARTULIS — PHILADELPHIA
  • 22 — 6’0″ 190 lb — Kristaps SOTNIEKS — Dynamo Riga
  • 21 — 6’2″ 195 lb — Arturs KULDA — Chicago (AHL)
  • 21 — 6’2″ 190 lb — Oskars CIBULSKIS — Dynamo Jrs. Riga
  • 20 — 6’4″ 204 lb — Kriss GRUNDMANIS — Dynamo Jrs. Riga

Forwards

  • 34 — 5’9″ 176 lb — Aleksandrs MACIJEVSKIS — IK SonderjyskE
  • 34 — 6’1″ 195 lb — Girts ANKIPANS — Dynamo Riga
  • 33 — 5’10″ 185 lb — Herberts VASILJEVS — EV Krefeld
  • 33 — 5’10″ 170 lb — Aleksandrs NIZIVIJS — Dynamo Riga
  • 30 — 6’4″ 240 lb — Raitis IVANANS — LOS ANGELES
  • 29 — 5’11″ 185 lb — Martins CIPULIS — Dynamo Riga
  • 29 — 5’10″ 190 lb — Vladimirs MAMONOVS — Metalurgs Liepaja
  • 28 — 6’0″ 190 lb — Aleksejs SIROKOVS — Amur Khabarovsk
  • 28 — 5’10″ 175 lb — Viktors BLINOVS — Metallurg Zhlobin
  • 27 — 6’3″ 215 lb — Janis SPRUKTS — Dynamo Riga
  • 27 — 6’3″ 198 lb — Juris STALS — Quad City (IHL)
  • 26 — 6’0″ 195 lb — Edijs BRAHMANIS — Metalurgs Liepaja
  • 25 — 5’10″ 180 lb — Mikelis REDLIHS — Dynamo Riga
  • 25 — 6’3″ 190 lb — Vladislavs VODOLAZSKIS — Rossoblu Milan
  • 24 — 6’2″ 185 lb — Lauris DARZINS — Dynamo Riga
  • 24 — 5’11″ 165 lb — Guntis DZERINS — HK Ozolniecki/Monarhs
  • 24 — 6’3″ 185 lb — Raimonds DANILICS — Swindon Wildcats
  • 23 — 5’10″ 192 lb — Martins KARSUMS — Norfolk (AHL)
  • 23 — 5’9″ 165 lb — Elvis ZELUBOVSKIS — HK Gomel
  • 22 — 6’3″ 190 lb — Kaspars SAULIETIS — Dynamo Minsk
  • 22 — 6’0″ 175 lb — Gints MEIJA — Dynamo Riga
  • 22 — 6’2″ 200 lb — Sergejs PECURA — Krylja Sovetov
  • 22 — 6’0″ 180 lb — Toms HARTMANIS — Dynamo Jrs. Riga
  • 21 — 6’0″ 205 lb — Kaspars DAUGAVINS — Binghamton (AHL)
  • 21 — 6’2″ 180 lb — Andris DZERINS — Dynamo Riga
  • 20 — 5’11″ 198 lb — Roberts JEKIMOVS — Dynamo Jrs. Riga 
  • 19 — 6’0″ 190 lb — Alberts ILISKO — IF Nynashamns

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Loot For NHL Latvians

Two-time Olympian KARLIS SKRASTINS (7), now 35, appeared at the C Pool IIHF World Championships as an 18-year-old for Latvia in 1993.

Two-time Olympian KARLIS SKRASTINS (7), now 35, appeared at the C Pool IIHF World Championships as an 18-year-old for Latvia in 1993.

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NHL roster status as of Dec 7

  • $ 1,375,000 — 35 — def — Karlis SKRASTINS — Dallas
  • $ 600,000 — 30 — for — Raitis IVANANS — Los Angeles
  • $ 500,000 — 22 — def — Oskars BARTULIS — Philadelphia

NOTE — Players are listed according to NHL club’s salary cap hit for 2009-2010 season.

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New Contract For Latvia’s Bartulis

OSKARS BARTULIS (3) and AIGARS CIPRUSS (29) look on as Latvia netminder EDGARS MASALSKIS searches for the puck in the qualification round match versus Russia at the 2009 IIHF World Championships in Switzerland. Russia, the eventual champion, defeated Latvia 6-1. The two nations will meet again in Group B at the Winter Olympics this February from Vancouver.

OSKARS BARTULIS (3) and AIGARS CIPRUSS (29) look on as Latvia netminder EDGARS MASALSKIS searches for the puck in the qualification round match versus Russia at the 2009 IIHF World Championships in Switzerland. Russia, the eventual champion, defeated Latvia 6-1. The two nations will meet again in Group B at the Winter Olympics this February from Vancouver.

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The Philadelphia Flyers have announced a three-year contract extension for recently promoted defenseman OSKARS BARTULIS of Latvia.

“Oskars has developed nicely over the past two years and fit in nicely with the team,” Flyers general manager PAUL HOLMGREN stated. “We are happy to have him under contract and are pleased to know he is part of our defensive group for the next several years.”

Bartulis is scheduled to make the league-minimum $ 500,000 for this 2009-10 season.

The native of Ogre was elevated to the NHL for the very first time this fall after spending the past two years with the Philadelphia Phantoms (137 ga, 3 go 31 as, 34 pts, 101 pim) of the American Hockey League. Philadelphia’s 3rd round (# 91 overall) pick from the 2005 draft opened this year with the Adirondack Phantoms in the AHL, where the 6’2″ 184 pounder played 12 games (2 go 2 as, 4 pts, 14 pim). With the Flyers in the NHL to date, Bartulis has appeared 12 times (0 go 3 as, 3 pts, 6 pim) and is averaging about thirteen and a half minutes per game. 

Bartulis is a strong candidate for Latvia’s Olympic team for the Winter Games this February in Vancouver. The defenseman is a veteran of four IIHF U-20 World Junior Championship tournaments for his homeland.  More importantly, the 22-year-old made his senior international debut with four games for Latvia at the 2009 IIHF World Championships in Switzerland last spring.  

Certainly, Latvia national team coach OLEGS ZNAROKS has to be pleased with the progress Bartulis has made this season so far in North America.

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