ASIAGO, Italy – Latvia won the 2009 IIHF World U18 Championship Division I Group B and will be back among the elite nations after two years at Division I.
Latvia missed the promotion last year on home ice after a 1-0 defeat against Norway, but this time they didn’t miss their chance in another Nordic clash, this time against Denmark.
The Latvians had a good start with a 5-3 win over Italy and a 5-2 win against Japan. But the winning streak came to an end when Latvia lost to Austria, 4-3, despite a 38-19 shots advantage. After a 3-1 victory against France, it came to an deciding game against Denmark.
Elvijs Biezais gave Latvia the lead at 10:44. Ronalds Kenins eventually scored an empty-netter to seal the promotion for Latvia.
The tournament win means that all three men’s national teams could play on top level next season after the U20 team stayed among the elite nations.
Denmark finished in second place, while Austria got bronze, both with ten points. France and Japan finished fourth and fifth, while host Italy was relegated to Division II.
Denmark’s starting goalie Lasse Jensen wasn named the Best Goalkeeper. He conceded only two goals. Latvia’s Edgars Dikis was named the the Best Defenceman, while Austria’s Kevin Puschnik was named Best Forward. Puschnik was the top scorer of the tournament with four goals and as many assists.
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