Goaltender Adam Gajan earned the shutout as Slovakia blanked Latvia 3-0 on Friday at the world junior hockey championship.
Filip Mesar, a first-round draft pick of the Montreal Canadiens, led the Slovak attack with a goal and an assist, while Alex Ciernik and Simon Nemec, this year’s No. 2 overall pick in the NHL draft by the New Jersey Devils, also scored.
Gajan, who plays for the Chippewa Steel of the North American Hockey League, made 28 saves, while Latvia goaltender Patriks Berzins stopped 23 of the 25 shots he faced.
Slovakia’s third goal, from Mesar, was scored into an empty net.
With the win, Slovakia moved into a tie with the United States for second place in Group B with two wins and a loss. Finland sits in top spot with two wins and an overtime loss.
Regulation wins at the tournament are worth three points, overtime wins are worth two and overtime losses are worth one.
Latvia finished in last place in Group B with one point in four games and will face the loser of today’s Germany-Austria game in a best-of-three relegation round that begins in Halifax on Monday.
The Slovaks finish off group play on Saturday against Switzerland.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published Dec. 30, 2022.