Carolina Hurricanes’ goaltender Arturs Irbe has picked up where he left the 1999-2000 NHL regular season, leading his native Latvia to the Qualifying Round of the 2000 Ice Hockey World Championships being held in St. Petersburg, Russia.
Irbe, who established franchise records for wins (34), games played (75), minutes played (4,345) and consecutive games (24) this past season for the Hurricanes, is representing Latvia for the third time at the World Championships after participating in 1997 and 1998. Including a 4-1 loss today against Switzerland, Irbe has posted a 3-2-1 record with a 2.33 goals against average and a .910 save percentage.
After suffering a 3-1 loss to Sweden to open the tournament, Irbe notched a four-game unbeaten streak with three consecutive wins against Belarus (6-3), Ukraine (2-1) and Russia (3-2) and a tie against the United States (1-1). In both the upset over Russia and the tie against the United States, Irbe was named Player of the Game with 37 and 36 saves, respectively.
The Carolina Hurricanes are also represented in the World Championships by forward Andrei Kovalenko who has skated for host Russia. Kovalenko has been held without a point in five games.