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Conor Garland tallies an assist and Arturs Silovs wins the starter’s job on day one of Worlds

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Photo credit:Team Latvia
David Quadrelli
9 months ago
Friday marked the first day of this year’s IIHF World Championship in Riga, Latvia and Tampere, Finland.
In case you missed it, there are now four Vancouver Canucks players representing their countries at this year’s tournament. Ethan Bear and Tyler Myers are suiting up for Team Canada, and Conor Garland is wearing the red white and blue of Team USA. Joining late is Arturs Silovs with Team Latvia, as the Abbotsford Canucks were recently eliminated from the AHL playoffs.
All three teams and all four Canucks players were in action on Friday. First, in Riga, Canada squared off with host squad Latvia, winning in impressive fashion by a final score of 6-0.
Ivars Punnenovs got the start in goal for Latvia, but after allowing two goals on five shots within the game’s opening five minutes, Latvia turned to the 21-year-old Silovs to come in and perform clean-up duty.
Silovs faced a Canada power play after only a minute of being in the game, but helped his squad get to the first intermission still down by only two goals, as Silovs was sharp in turning away every shot he faced. Latvia took another penalty early in the second, and this time Canada capitalized as Mackenzie Weegar managed to beat Silovs through traffic with Jack Quinn and Weegar’s Calgary Flames teammate Tyler Toffoli picking up the assists.
Not all that long after, Sammy Blais extended Canada’s lead to 4-0 as a result of some bad defensive zone coverage and Silovs getting a bit lost in his crease.
Tyler Myers took a high-sticking penalty four minutes into the third, but it didn’t matter much, as the Latvia power play simply couldn’t come close to producing a goal in this one. And that was a common theme, as Canada managed to blank Latvia by a final score of 6-0. Joe Veleno and Jack McBain added the final two goals of the game in the third.
Silovs made 20 saves on 24 shots in relief, and despite the final score, was sharp in this one behind a porous Latvian defence group. Expect to see him get the bulk of the starts at the tournament from here on out.
As for Conor Garland, his USA squad took on the tournament’s other hosts, Finland, and also managed to find victory.
As expected, this one was closer than Canada-Latvia, with USA edging out Finland 4-1 thanks to goals from Cutter Gauthier and Drew O’Connor, as well as a pair of goals from Alex Tuch to close this one out. Garland picked up an assist on O’Connor’s goal. Garland made a nice play coming down the wing to centre the puck into the slot on the goal:
Canada and USA will both have a day off on Saturday before returning to action on Sunday. Canada takes on Slovakia and Team USA plays Hungary. Latvia is back in action on Saturday, and it will be interesting to see how the hosts handle their goaltending situation with it being a back to back situation and Silovs not necessarily having an easy night on Friday.
We’ll have you covered all tournament long!

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