Controversy mars Canada's 11-0 worlds win vs. Latvia

Updated: May 11, 2006, 9:06 PM ET
Associated Press

RIGA, Latvia -- Canada's 11-0 victory over Latvia at the World Hockey Championship on Thursday night was delayed twice because fans threw coins onto the ice to protest penalties called against the home team by an American referee.

Fans first disrupted the game in the first period, when ref Rick Looker called eight penalties against Latvia, four resulting in power-play goals for Canada. About $31 worth of change was tossed onto the ice.

The game was again stopped early in the third period. Latvian forward Janis Sprukts urged calm over the arena's public address system, enabling the game to continue.

Canada went on to score three more goals, two on power plays, to give Canada nine for the game.

"You have to think about the players' safety," Canadian head coach Marc Habscheid said. "Latvia's great fans ... they're very passionate fans about their team. There were just a few people that decided to throw things on the ice.

"It made it dangerous for the players, but we have a lot of respect for the Latvian team and the Latvian fans. It's not fair to look at all the people in the stands," he said.

Earlier this season, Looker was criticized after Cologne beat Dusseldorf in the semifinals of the German League playoffs. He assessed a five-minute major to a Cologne player at the end of the game. Dusseldorf scored three goals and won the game.

With the win, unbeaten Canada moved into first in Group E with six points. Latvia has one point.

Jason Williams led Canada with one goal and three assists. Kyle Calder scored two goals, while Sidney Crosby, Brad Boyes, Patrice Bergeron, Brendan Shanahan, Jeff Carter, Matt Pettinger, Mike Richards and Scott Hartnell had a goal each.

The referee called 16 penalties against Latvia, twice as many as he called on Canada.

"You can't prepare for a game like that," Latvian forward Herberts Vasiljevs said. "The referee was giving penalties for clearly nothing.

"Honestly, there were a couple of penalties that he really could give, but a couple of those penalties were just ridiculous," he said.

Earlier, Maxim Sushinsky had two power-plays goals and an assist and Russia routed Ukraine 6-0 to also stay unbeaten in the tournament.

In the earlier game, Alexander Ovechkin twice set up Sushinsky to give Russia a 2-0 lead, the first with 3:54 remaining in the first period.

"I believe today's win puts us already in the quarterfinals, and it was a tough game," Sushinsky said.

After setting up Sushinsky 73 seconds into the third, Ovechkin also scored his fourth of the tournament when he tipped in defenseman Andrei Kruchinin's shot from the point for a 3-0 lead at 6:06.

"Coach told us to go out there and score goals, and in the second and third period we played well," Ovechkin said. "We haven't played so long together and right now we play all the time together, and we feel more comfortable on the power play and when we play five-on-five."

The win gave Russia six points to lead Group F. Ukraine is last with no points.


Copyright 2006 by The Associated Press

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