It doesn’t matter what age Jaromir Jagr is, if he has a chance to shine, he’ll take. So when the Florida Panthers forward scored the game winning goal against the Latvians on Saturday, who could be surprised?
Jagr had a lot to do with the opening part of the game, but his tripping penalty at the 12 minute mark didn’t prove to be one of his finer moments. On the ensuing power-play, Kaspars Daugavins took a pass up the middle of the ice and, somehow, beat goaltender Alex Salak with a weak backhander to take the 1-0 lead.
The first period may have been positive for the Latvians, but the second period wass when the contest really took off, especially in the second period. At 2:01 of the middle stanza, Carolina Hurricanes forward Michal Jordan took a quick wrist shot from the point that found its way past a screened Edgars Masalskis to tie the game up. The Latvians weren’t so fond of that, so 77 seconds later, Mikelis Redlihs somehow beat Salak with a shot from the top of the circle, regaining Latvia’s lead. It proved to be the end of the night for Salak, whose replacement, Ondrej Pavelec, would stay strong to finish without allowing a goal.
The goalie change seemed to spark new life in the Czech’s. A minute after, the home team managed to tie the game again when Jan Kovar’s fast wrist shot beat Masalskis for the 2-2 goal.
The game really took a turn for the worse for Latvia with eight minutes to go in the second. Kristaps Sotnieks was given a major penalty, as well as a game misconduct, after spearing Jakub Klepis in the groin. The Czech’s would find themselves on the power-play, and as a result, Jagr got his second goal of the tournament after scoring the 3-2 goal, which proved to be the game-winner. Philadelphia Flyers star Jakub Voracek would add an extra goal five minutes into the third, giving the Czech’s the 4-2 lead and cementing the victory in the process.
After two exciting victories to start off the tournament, the Czech’s will have Sunday off before finding themselves in a battle with Canada on Monday. Latvia, however, will likely have a tough time against Sweden on Monday before facing the Swiss on Wednesday, a game they should be able to compete in.
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