Slovakia beats Latvia 3-0 in world junior hockey

MONCTON, New Brunswick (AP) — Adam Gajan made 28 saves and Slovakia beat Latvia 3-0 on Friday for its second victory in three Group B games in the world junior hockey championship.

In Halifax, Nova Scotia, in Group A in the only other game of the day, Germany beat Austria 4-2 to secure a spot in the quarterfinals.

Slovakia will close group play Saturday against Switzerland. Latvia finished last in the group with one point. It will face Austria — last in Group A with four losses — in a best-of-three relegation round that begins Monday in Halifax.

The United States will wrap up Group B play against Finland on Saturday in Moncton. In Group A finales in Halifax on Saturday, Canada will play Sweden, and Germany will meet the Czech Republic.

Filip Mesar had a goal and an assist for Slovakia. Alex Ciernik and Simon Nemec also scored.

The 19-year-old Gajan was in goal in Slovakia’s 6-3 victory over the United States on Tuesday. He has made two starts for the Green Bay Gamblers in the USHL after appearing in 16 games with the NAHL’s Chippewa Steel to open the season.

“I was confident and I knew that I can play here, so I didn’t feel nervous or something like this,” Gajan said. “So, I feel great on the ice.”

Patriks Berzins made 23 saves for Latvia.

“I think everyone is frustrated about the result,” Latvian defenseman Bogdans Hodass said. “It wasn’t what we wanted. A little bit unlucky for sure. We had a lot of chances to score, but the puck just didn’t go in.”

Philpp Krening, Leon van der Linde, Thomas Heigl and Roman Kechter scored for Germany in its first victory in three games. Nikita Quapp made 31 saves.

Ian Scherzer and Jonas Dobnig scored for Austria. Dobnig also failed on a penalty shot.

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