TEAM CANADA TOPS LATVIA 11-0
Jason Williams gets four power-play points
as Canada routs host Latvia 11-0
RIGA, Latvia (CP) - The lovable Latvians turned hostile at the IIHF world hockey championship on Thursday night, twice delaying the game during Canada's easy 11-0 win over the host team.
American referee Rick Looker called 16 minor penalties against Latvia - including eight in the first 18 minutes - and the 10,000-plus screaming fans at Arena Riga responded by littering the playing surface with coins, noise makers and even a shoe and cellphone.
Canada took advantage of the power-play opportunities, scoring nine times with a man advantage.
Jason Williams, a forward who plays the point on the power play, led the way with a goal and three assists for Canada (4-0-0). Kyle Calder added two goals while Sidney Crosby, Brad Boyes, Patrice Bergeron, Brendan Shanahan, Jeff Carter, Matt Pettinger, Mike Richards and Scott Hartnell also scored.
Goalie Marc Denis, playing for the second time in the tournament, made 26 saves for the shutout.
The game was stopped and the ice was resurfaced at 4:50 of the third period after Latvian captain Aleksandrs Semjonovs was called for slashing Crosby. Looker, an American who called 25 minors in an Italy-Switzerland game earlier in the tournament, had to be escorted from the ice by a battery of security as fans tossed coins and other debris on the ice and at him.
Latvian forward Janis Sprukts addressed the crowd in Latvian while the Zambonis cleaned the coins up, asking them to stop.
Play was also stopped with two minutes to go in the first period due to debris on the ice.
The passionate Latvian fans have been one of the stories of the tournament, relentlessly cheering their team with as much passion during a 5-0 loss to Finland as a 5-1 win over Slovenia.
Thursday's game started in a familiar way. Those that had made it inside from the beer tents started blowing horns more than 15 minutes before the puck was dropped.
When the teams came out at the start of the game, a giant maroon and white Latvian flag that covered several rows of seats was unfurled in the stands while the fans took the noise to a new level, chanting, "Latvia! Latvia!"
It was so loud that Canadian family members, who arrived in Riga on Wednesday and were watching their first game of the tournament, were given earplugs by team officials.
Players from both teams seemed confused a number of times early in the game when they weren't able to hear Looker blow his whistle to stop play.
It happened often and the overmatched Latvians kept the guy operating the penalty box door busy.
Williams got Canada rolling at 5:41 when his point shot got through goalie Sergejs Naumovs, who was being screened by Shanahan.
Just over three minutes later, a wide-open Crosby made it 2-0 on a 5-on-3 when Williams found him with a nice pass. The 18-year-old Crosby has scored in all four of Canada's games and leads the tournament in scoring with nine points.
Further goals by Boyes and Bergeron in the first period had given Canada full control of the game until the fans decided to stop it. Players were sent to their dressing rooms and the ice was cleaned before the final two minutes of the opening period were played.
Notes: It was Canada's largest win over Latvia since a 14-0 victory at the 1935 world championship .B .B . Team Canada faces the Czech Republic on Sunday and Finland on Monday .B .B . Latvia's best ever finish in the event is fifth in 2000.