February 21, 2006
TURIN, Italy (AP) -- Yevgeniy Koreshkov scored two third-period goals, lifting Kazakhstan to a 5-2 victory Tuesday that eliminated Latvia from the men's Olympic ice hockey tournament and put the United States into the quarter-finals.
Sergey Alexandrov snapped a 2-2 tie with 7:27 left before Koreshkov put it away with consecutive goals 3:15 apart in the closing minutes.
Latvia (0-4-1) entered play Tuesday, the final day in the preliminary portion of the men's hockey tournament, with the slimmest of chances of advancing to the medal round. Latvia needed to win its last game, have the United States lose to Russia, and make up a 16-goal differential between the two contests.
It never got to that tiebreaker because Latvia failed to do its part.
Now it is set: the Americans - the No. 4 seed from Group B - will face Group A winner Finland on Wednesday in the quarter-finals.
Kazakhstan (1-4), knocked out of medal-round consideration Sunday, grabbed its third lead of the game at 12:33 of the final period. Fedor Polichshuk streaked in on a breakaway, but instead of shooting he dropped a pass back to Alexandrov for a slap shot that beat goalie Sergejs Naumovs.
Kazakhstan padded the lead 2:20 later when Koreshkov scored on a penalty shot. He added his fifth goal of the tournament with 1:52 remaining to make it 5-2.
Aigars Cipruss got Latvia even at 2-2 at 5:04 of the third period.
Alexandr Koreshkov gave Kazakhstan a 1-0 lead 7:20 in before Leonids Tambijevs tied it with a power-play goal at 15:13. Toronto Maple Leafs forward Nik Antropov made it 2-1 for Kazakhstan with 4:56 left in the middle period.
Latvia started so well, earning a surprising 3-3 tie with the Americans on opening night of the tournament. But the Latvians dropped their final four games by a combined score of 26-8 and finished last in the six-team Group B.