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World Juniors Preview: Canada looks for second win of tournament against Latvia

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Photo credit:Hockey Canada
Cam Lewis
1 month ago
After kicking off the 2024 World Juniors with a commanding 5-2 win over Finland, Canada will again be in action on Wednesday as they take on Latvia. This will also be Latvia’s second game of the tournament, as they lost by a score of 6-0 to Sweden on Tuesday.
Sweden, the team hosting the tournament, will be the biggest obstacle between Canada and finishing first place in their group. The two teams will face off on Friday and then group stage play will conclude on Sunday with Canada playing Germany and Sweden playing Finland.
Over in the other group, Slovakia started off their tournament with a 6-2 win over the Czech Republic and the United States beat Norway by a score of 4-1. Germany and Switzerland are the two teams who didn’t play on the first day of the tournament.

Team Canada vs. Team Latvia

Time: 11:30 AM MT
Location: Gothenburg, Sweden
Television: TSN

Team Canada’s Roster…

Getting to know Team Canada…

“It’s gold or bust. Always. No exceptions.
Expectations are always high for Canada to perform, much higher than any other nation. With 20 of the team’s 35 medals coming on the top step of the podium, it’s an important tournament for the nation to get right. There’s a reason why the tournament is almost always in Canada, including the past three years.
But it feels different this year. They’re headed to Sweden, and, for once, they’re not the favourites this time. With some key NHLers missing the event to live out their dreams, Canada isn’t running at all cylinders. Perhaps the fanbase was spoiled with how Connor Bedard and company dominated the show in Halifax. And maybe that’s why they’re narrow win over Czechia meant so much on home ice. Even with some of the best prospects in the world, it’s never easy.” – Steven Ellis, Daily Faceoff

Team Latvia’s Roster…

Getting to know Team Latvia…

“It’s been quite the journey for Latvia.
In 2022, the team was promoted to the top division after Russia was booted from the summer tournament. They managed to keep most of the roster that played at the Division IA tournament just a few months prior, so they managed to band together and beat Czechia to advance to the playoff round for the first time ever.
Latvia only snagged a single point in 2023, putting them in the relegation round. They managed to sweep Austria to stay alive, keeping Latvia in the top event for a third consecutive year for the first time in tournament history.
This time? Many in Latvia like the team’s chances to at least avoid the relegation round. Norway might be able top them if they fall to relegation, so beating Germany is the most important step forward for this group. They’ve got some weapons in the lineup, but will it be enough?
Eriks Mateiko has a realistic chance to become the first Latvian since Teodors Blugers in 2012 to go in the top two rounds of the NHL Draft. The large forward has great hands for his size, and he’s proactive defensively. He’s been a leader at every level, and that doesn’t go unnoticed. There’s NHL depth potential here.” – Steven Ellis, Daily Faceoff

Game Day Prediction…

Canada cruises to an 8-1 win.

Obvious Game Day Prediction…

The player who scores for Latvia will have a first name that ends with the letter “s.”

Not-so-Obvious Game Day Prediction…

Latvia will open the scoring and carry a lead for long enough that we wonder if we’re watching this generation’s version of Arturs Irbe.

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