Latvian Hockey Players Struggle in Loss to Sweden: Coach Demands More Concentration

Latvian Hockey Players Struggle in Loss to Sweden: Coach Demands More Concentration

Latvian hockey players lost their concentration in the second third, playing five minutes in the majority, and right after it ended, the team got three pucks in their own goal, admitted the captain, who experienced a not the happiest birthday in the loss to Sweden.

“We got along very well after a bit of a knockdown in the first period, but three minutes later the concentration disappeared and the game was over,” admitted Daugavins. “We have not given up in any game, we fight in any situation. We know that there is a lot to improve, but at least the team has fighting spirit and character. If we put our thinking in perfect order, then of course we can also fight for victories.”

Daugavins, who scored the first goal for Latvia against the Swedes, admitted that

it was necessary to play simply and physically “to the bone”, because the Swedes never liked pressing hockey, but more technical playing on clean ice.

If the Swedish hockey players are allowed to play in their favorite style, then their skillful hockey players are able to score goals.

Daugavins emphasized that three points are absolutely necessary in the next game against Slovakia in order to have any chance of reaching the quarterfinals. He also thanked the fans for not abandoning the team even in the most difficult situations, and the captain added that the national team must find a way to say thank you to the fans.

Coach Harijs Vītoliņš demands more concentration

The head coach of the Latvian national team, Harijs Vītoliņš, said that the team’s performance in the match against the Swedes was like going over the hills. Latvians have shown that they can play well against such a strong team, but when they lost their heads and their positions, a penalty immediately followed.

A conversation with Harry Vitolinas

World hockey championship game Latvia – Sweden. Interview with Harry Vitolinas after the game 4 min

After the defeat, Vītoliņš emphasized that it is necessary to play for the entire 60 minutes, and this is a matter of the hockey players’ attention. There was a loss of concentration in the unfortunate run of three goals conceded, and the Swedes, as a higher-class team, punished it skillfully with an excellent performance, the coach said.

The Latvian national team recovered very well after conceding the first two goals, but the game turned in the opposite direction when they failed to score in the continuation, playing in the majority for five minutes, said Vītoliņš.

The coach has no reason to blame someone for not fighting, but he expects the hockey players to be able to focus on the game for 60 minutes.

“We win as a team and we lose as a team. In the scored goals, there are complaints against everyone who was on the field at that moment. Everyone could definitely have worked that moment better,” Vītoliņš did not look for individual culprits.

Eric Vitols had a successful debut in goal

In Latvia’s goal, Elvi Merzlikina was replaced by debutant Āriks Vītols in the second third after the loss of the sixth goal, who before the match did not think about the possibility of going on the field, but was ready for it. Vitols admitted that the team gave too much to the Swedes, but they have to prepare for the next game.

A conversation with Eric Vitols

World hockey championship game Latvia – Sweden. Interview with Erika Vitols after the game 2 min

Vitols did not hide that he was also a little lucky, keeping his goal intact until the penultimate minute of the game. The goalkeeper thanked his teammates, who helped him a lot.

“It wasn’t that we played badly. There were also moments at the beginning of the second period. We had an advantage, we scored two goals, and then the game was similar. At one point you make one mistake, the other, and that’s the result,” Vitols summed up the game.

Defender Robert Mamcic urges to focus on the remaining fights

On the other hand, defender Robert Mamcic said that the team played well in the first half of the game, and then made some unacceptable mistakes, which the opponents took advantage of. Mamcic urged the team to keep their heads up to focus and fight for the quarter-finals in the remaining two games in the group.

Conversation with Roberta Mamčica (in English)

World hockey championship game Latvia – Sweden. Interview with Roberta Mamčica after the game 2 min

The Latvian national team has three wins and two losses in five games, which preserves the chances of winning a place in the quarterfinals, as long as they manage to beat the Slovaks in the remaining games on Sunday and close the group stage with a victory over the USA hockey players on Tuesday.

The four strongest teams of the group will enter the quarter-finals. The medal winners of the championship in the Czech Republic will be announced at the finals in Prague on May 26.

All world championship matches can be seen live on LSM.lv.

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