Austria can book another point at the Ice Hockey World Championship in Finland. Today, Friday, the ÖEHV selection lost against Latvia 3:4 after a penalty shootout (0:0.2:3.1:0.0:0.0:1). There are now two games left. While tomorrow, Saturday, you probably won’t be able to calculate any points against Finland, there will be a showdown against Great Britain on Monday at 19:20. Before the upcoming two duels, Austria has four points on the credit side. Roger Bader’s squad showed a strong performance against Latvia, which was not sufficiently rewarded. Roger Bader’s team fought back in the final third, Nikolajs Jelisejevs and Roberts Bukarts scored for the Latvians in the penalty shoot-out, only Dominique Heinrich scored for red-white-red.
Benjamin Nissner to make it 1-0 (22nd), Heinrich with a double advantage (32nd) and Thomas Raffl (47th) scored in the game for Austria. Rudolfs Balcers (26th, 36th), the only NHL professional on the ice, and Rihards Bukarts (30th / PP) scored the goals for the Latvians, who have been playing in Group A since 2006.
It was a hugely important game for both teams. Therefore, caution and defensive discipline was required for both teams in the first third. The Austrians were the more active team. Latvia only got the first shot on goal in the 6th minute, in the 12th minute goalkeeper Bernhard Starkbaum was the winner against Balcers, who rushed towards him alone. The red-white-red selection finally rewarded itself at the beginning of the middle third. After a one-two with Thomas Raffl, Nissner scored in the Kreuzeck. The Balten immediately increased the tempo and took the lead through Balcers, who defeated Starkbaum into the near corner, and Bukarts on the power play.
Heinrich scored to equalize in a 5-on-3 majority. However, the joy did not last long. After losing a target in the middle third, things went too fast for the badly positioned Austrians, Balcers didn’t let the chance pass. Austria put a lot of pressure on in the final third. As a result, captain Thomas Raffl, who deflected a Zündel shot, equalized again.
Peter Schneider and Raffl missed the chance of three points. In extra time, Austria was lucky with a shot at the pole, but not in the penalty shoot-out. Nevertheless: Austria still has everything in its own hands. As things stand and if there are no more surprises, a point against Great Britain on Monday would be enough to stay up for the second time since 2004. This was last achieved in Copenhagen in 2018.