Latvia defeats Czechia for its first victory in the preliminary round in the junior world

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Ralfs Bergmanis had a hat-trick as Latvia beat Czechia 5-2 on Sunday to secure a place in the world junior championship quarterfinals.

Latvia (1-2-1) was third in Group A, one place ahead of Czechia (1-2-1). Latvia entered the event as Russia and Belarus were kicked out.

The win over Czechia was Latvia’s first win at the junior world since their 2-1 win over Denmark on January 4, 2012, marking a gap of 3,875 days between wins. That match, however, was for relegation, so the win broke Latvia’s 0-27 run 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 quarterfinals.