Latvia defeats Czechia for its 1st-ever preliminary round victory at world juniors

Ralfs Bergmanis had a hat trick and Latvia beat Czechia 5-2 on Sunday to secure a quarter-final spot in the world junior championship.

Latvia (1-2-1) was third in Group A, a spot ahead of Czechia (1-2-1). Latvia got into the event when Russia and Belarus were expelled.

The win over Czechia was Latvia’s first victory at the world juniors since its 2-1 win over Denmark on January 4, 2012, marking a span of 3,875 days between wins. That game, however, was for relegation, so the victory snapped Latvia’s 0-27 streak in the preliminary round.

Earlier, Kasper Simontaival had two goals and an assist in Finland’s 9-3 victory over Slovakia in Group A. Joel Maatta also scored twice for Finland (2-1). Slovakia finished 0-3-1 and failed to qualify for the quarter-finals.

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