Friday, May 12, 2006

Canada and Crosby Cause Chaos in Riga

Oh, those crazy Latvians!! So much for the lovable party animals we've come to know...

Canada scored a staggering nine power-play goals en route to an 11-0 win at Riga Arena Thursday night in one of the most extraordinary games in international hockey history. The game, refereed by American Rick Looker (who worked in the DEL this year), was dominated by a total of 23 minor penalties, 16 of which were incurred by the Latvians.

The Canadians had already scored 4 power-play goals by the time Looker called the eight penalty of the game against the Latvians at 18:00 of the first period. Fans renewed their whistling and littered the ice with refuse, the most interesting item being a single shoe. That culprit, no doubt, was easily discovered. More dangerously, the idiot element in the crowd threw coins as well, difficult to spot and dangerous to players. At this point, Looker had no choice but to send the teams to the dressing room early so the ice could be properly cleaned off.

Then, the Canadians scored three times within the first 2:24 of the third period-- first at 4-on-4, then at 5-on-3, and last at 5-on-4, making the score 8-0. After another Latvian penalty, the fans started littering the ice again with hundreds of various objects, and Looker sent the teams to the dressing room for a second time, just 4:50 into the third period.

Latvian forward Janis Sprukts came out onto the ice, went to the penalty box, and took the microphone from the PA announcer. In Latvian, he told the fans that he understood their anger at the referee--the players felt the same--but please, he begged, let the teams finish the game. He skated off the ice, back to the dressing room, and the Zambonis came out to clean the ice.

The teams returned and the scene degenerated further. Kyle Calder scored on the power play while Looker had his hand in the air to send another Latvian to the penalty box. The goal negated that. Seconds later, however, Calder scored again, this time 5-on-5, to make it 10-0. Scott Hartnell scored a ninth extra-man goal at 10:17 to round out the scoring.
As for Crosby, he now leads the entire tournament with 5 goals and 4 assists in 4 games. Ovechkin? He sits in 3rd behind Patrice Bergeron with 6 points in 4 games.

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