Canada defeats the Latvian goalkeeper in five minutes Montembeault saves

Canada defeats the Latvian goalkeeper in five minutes, Montembeault saves the ball

Canada had no trouble shaking the backbone of Latvia in Friday’s IIHF Men’s World Championship opener. In confidence, Samuel Montembeault signed a 6-0 shutout in Riga.

In front of a crowd obviously biased towards their opponents, the Canadians looked to strike early to silence the crowd. However, the Latvian fans backed their favorites every time they broke through in attack.

However, it never paid off when it came to winning points. Lawson Crouse and Scott Laughton took turns scoring in the first five minutes of the opening jab. Goalkeeper Ivars Punnenovs was immediately sent to the shower and Arturs Silovs took his place.

“It was important for us to establish our identity and the way we want to play,” head coach André Tourigny said in a statement. We want to be a strong team and we know we have the skills and can perform attackingly, but we also want our guys to push and integrate into our system to play as a unit.

Silovs, who has played for the Trois-Rivières Lions and Vancouver Canucks for the past two seasons, outperformed his counterpart but still gave up four times on 25 shots.

Compliments for Montembeault

Quebecers Joe Veleno and Samuel Blais and MacKenzie Weegar and Jack McBain scored. Youngster Adam Fantilli, who will be drafted early in this year’s National Hockey League, provided an assist on Canada’s last goal.

Montembeault blocked 23 shots. Defenseman Justin Barron, also from the Habs, spent 13:06 on the ice, becoming one of six Maple Leaf skaters not to score.

“[Montembeault] “Like Budapest, it was excellent,” said Weegar, who was named Canada’s player of the game. He made great saves for us when we needed him, plays confidently and is good with the puck. He’s a smart goalkeeper, I couldn’t be happier for him.”

Canada returns to action against Slovenia on Sunday. Tourigny is aware that some clashes will be easier than others, but tougher opponents like the Slovaks, the Swiss or the Czechs will stand in his way in Group B.

“Our boys are in the right place but we need to improve because we know the other teams will get better as the tournament progresses,” he said.