OTTAWA - Slovakia got off to a strong start at the world junior hockey championship with a 7-2 win over Latvia on Saturday.
Radoslav Tybor and Ondrej Rusnak each scored a pair of goals to lead the Slovaks. Marek Hrivik, Tomas Tatar and Adam Bezak also scored. Jaroslav Janus stopped 15 shots.
Janis Straupe and Ronalds Cinks scored for Latvia, while Nauris Enkuzens faced 43 shots. Latvia is now 0-2 at the tournament.
The first period featured end-to-end action as both teams exchanged a pair of goals.
Slovakia's Tybor opened the scoring at 1:54 of the first period beating Enkuzens high stick-side.
Latvia went on to take the lead on goals from Straupe and Cinks. Cinks goal came on a beautiful second effort as he got the puck off while being hauled down.
With less than four minutes remaining in the period, Slovakia tied the game as Rusnak tipped Radek Deyl's shot from the blue-line.
Slovakia took control of the game in the second period, scoring three unanswered goals.
The game remained close until the latter half of the second when Slovakia scored twice in a span of 38 seconds.
Hrivik broke the 2-2 tie with a questionable goal as his shot got just under the crossbar. After review the goal held up despite protests from the Latvians.
Seconds later Rusnak was left all alone to beat Enkuzens high glove side.
Tybor scored his second of the game to make it 5-2 with just under two minutes remaining in the period.
Moments after the Latvians recorded their first shot on goal in over 22 minutes the Slovakians scored again as Tatar picked up a rebound and scored into an empty net.
Despite Latvia's obvious struggles its fans could still be heard cheering among the 9,370 on hand at the Civic Centre.