Latvian Hockey News Report

By Didzis Rudmanis

Gomel signs Tribuncovs

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Despite the Kazakh federation’s report that 34-year-old Latvian defender Atvars Tribuncovs has joined Beibarys Atyrau of the Kazakh league, he has signed a contract with Belarussian Extraleague club HC Gomel till the end of this season.

Still, there was some truth about the report – Tribuncovs indeed was willing to join Beibarys, but for some unknown reason it did not work out, and he never arrived at Atyrau. Instead, he joined HC Gomel, having a fantastic debut – in his first game with the club Tribuncovs posted a goal and added two assists.

In the past the 34-year-old defender has played for many seasons in such leagues as Russian Super League, Swedish Elitserien, DEL. He spent also majority of 2008-09 with Dinamo Riga of the KHL. In 2009-10 he played for HC Karlovy Vary of the Czech Extraleague. However, late in the season he was loaned to a Czech 2nd league club and failed to sign a contract during the summer. Before joining HC Gomel, Tribuncovs played several games for HK SMScredit.lv of the Latvian league.

Latvian U20 returns to Elite for 2012

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Latvian U20 national team with a 3:1 victory over Belarussian U20 team finished it’s triumph at the Division 1 tournament in Babruysk, Belarus, returning to the Elite division for the 2012 tournament.

Janis Kalnins finished the tournament with the best GAA, as well as SVS%, although the best goaltender award went to British goalie Ben Bowns (who reflected a total of 198 shots, three times more than Kalnins did). However, the best defender award went to Ralfs Freibergs of the Latvian team. The top scorer of the Latvian team was Juris Upitis with 8 (3+5) points, closely followed by the 16-year-old talent Zemgus Girgensons with 7 (4+3) points. Head coach Leonids Beresnevs announced Ronalds Kenins as the MVP of the Latvian team.

Latvian U20 results:

December 13 Great Britain U20 6:1 Girgensons (2x), Biezais (2x), Pelss, Upitis
December 14 Ukraine U20 9:0 Freibergs, Biezais, Upitis, Girgensons, Tubelis, Pelss, Kalvitis, Salija, Jansons
December 16 Japan U20 2:1 Bicevskis (2x)
December 17 Italy U20 1:0 Girgensons
December 19 Belarus U20 3:1 Dikis, Zabis, Upitis

Latvian U20 statistics:

(in bold – players eligible to play at the 2012 World U20 Championship)

Pos GP G A Pts PIM +/- GWG PPG SHG SOG
Juris Upitis F 5 3 5 8 0 +6 0 0 0 14
Zemgus Girgensons F 5 4 3 7 8 +6 2 0 0 11
Elvijs Biezais F 5 3 3 6 6 +4 0 0 1 21
Kristians Pelss F 5 2 2 4 31 +3 0 0 0 12
Maris Bicevskis F 5 2 2 4 2 +3 1 1 0 9
Bruno Zabis F 5 1 3 4 2 +4 1 0 0 9
Ralfs Freibergs D 5 1 2 3 6 +1 0 1 0 12
Girts Jansons F 5 1 2 3 0 +2 0 0 0 4
Ronalds Kenins F 5 0 3 3 4 +6 0 0 0 28
Edgars Dikis D 5 1 1 2 2 +3 0 1 0 5
Arturs Salija D 5 1 1 2 24 +3 0 0 0 4
Martins Jakovlevs D 5 0 2 2 2 +7 0 0 0 11
Eriks Sevcenko D 5 0 2 2 2 +4 0 0 0 7
Karlis Kalvitis D 5 1 0 1 0 +3 0 1 0 6
Raimonds Tubelis D 5 1 0 1 0 +5 1 1 0 10
Egils Kalns F 5 0 1 1 0 +3 0 0 0 7
Arturs Mickevics F 5 0 1 1 0 +3 0 0 0 13
Davis Straupe F 5 0 1 1 2 +1 0 0 0 3
Maris Dilevka F 5 0 1 1 4 +3 0 0 0 7
Martins Porejs D 4 0 0 0 0 +4 0 0 0 7
GP TOI GA SVS SOG SVS% GAA
Janis Kalnins 4 240 2 78 80 97.50 0.50
Kristers Gudlevskis 1 60 1 16 17 94.12 1.00

Galkins joins Zubry Minsk

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Latvian defender Aleksandrs Galkins who played for HK Riga of the MHL has joined another MHL club – Belarussian Zubry Minsk, reports kasjauns.lv. Galkins already spent the whole previous season in Belarus, while playing for HK Brest of the Belarussian Extraleague.

With 13 (2+11) points in 27 games Galkins was the leading HK Riga defender in scoring. Also his +/- of +8 was third highest among the defensemen of the club. However, one of the main reasons why Galkins might have left the club was the time on ice which had dramatically decreased since the beginning of the season.

This will make Galkins the fifth Latvian in foreign MHL clubs, as both Aleksandrs Kercs Jr. and Edgars Ulescenko are playing for the other Belarussian club in the league – Yunost Minsk, while Ronalds Cinks and Artjoms Dasutins are playing for accordingly MHC Krylia Sovetov and HK Sheriff.

Tribuncovs and Tjoluskins join Beibarys

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Just several days after Kaspars Astasenko was released from Kazakh league club Beibarys Atyrau, the number of Latvians in the club has been increased to five, with the signing of defenders Atvars Tribuncovs and Sergejs Tjoluskins, reports Kazakh federation’s homepage.

After failing to make the Beibarys Atyrau roster, 27-year-old Latvian Sergejs Tjoluskins signed with Lindlovens IF of the Swedish Division 1, where he played 22 games. Atvars Tribuncovs, however, began the season with HK SMS Credit of the Latvian league. 34-year-old defender in the past has played several seasons in such leagues as Russian Super League, Swedish Elitserien, DEL. He spent also majority of 2008-09 with Dinamo Riga of the KHL.

The very first news on Latvians joining Beibarys appeared in August, when Beibarys held their pre-season camp in Latvia and three Latvians joined the club for a try-out. A little while later another two Latvians joined the camp, but at the end of the camp only Raitums, Birzins and Smirnovs were signed, leaving Elvis Zelubovskis and Sergejs Tjoluskins without a contract. Later on also Kaspars Astasenko joined Beibarys, however he was released from the club after playing 14 games.

Latvians in Kazakhstan: statistics

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As Kazakhstan is a country far, far away, the information about the three Latvians playing for Beibarys Atyrau is usually far from being easily found, however recently some team statistics were released, making it possible for us to evaluate Latvian performance so far.

GP GAA SVS% TOI
G 33 Martins Raitums 16 1.54 94.17 974.28

Martins Raitums, who was presented in summer as one of the biggest names to join the Kazakh league so far, is currently the starting goalie of Beibarys. Still, the second goalie Vadim Seliverstov has played a solid amount (14) of games too. And, no matter in how competitive league a goalie is playing, a SVS% of 94.17 is still a very respectable figure.

GP G A P PIM +/-
D 29 Kaspars Astasenko 14 1 1 2 24 -1

The 35-year-old Latvian defender was released from the club already more than a week ago. His return to the professional ice hockey, after not playing for the whole 2009-10, didn’t turn out as successfully as he might have wished. Earlier in the season he did not play at all, in order to regain his form, however after 14 games played he was released from the club. It is said that the reason behind it was Astasenko’s lack of attitude.

GP G A P PIM +/-
D 10 Ricards Birzins 10 0 0 0 6 +1

Latvian defender Birzins, who played for Dinamo Riga farm club last season, has found himself dressed for only 10 out of 30 Beibarys games so far and he is one of seven Beibarys defender with a positive +/-. This season there have been a total of 13 defenders playing for Beibarys.

GP G A P PIM +/-
F 21 Andrejs Smirnovs 22 2 7 9 36 +3

27-year-old Andrejs Smirnovs is a regular player on Beibarys roster, and on the team’s top scoring list he is ninth. The team’s top scorer currently is Andrei Pelevin with 27 points.

Latvian U20 set for World Juniors

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Yesterday Latvian U20 national team head coach Leonids Beresnevs announced those 22 players, who will set off for Babruisk, Belarus already tomorrow morning, in order to begin the tournament on December 13 and eventually try to return to the Elite Division for next year.

In order to do that, Latvian team will have to beat not only Japanese, Italian, Great Britain and Ukrainian teams, but also its main rivals for the victory in the tournament – Belarussian team, who will host the tournament. Belarussian team this year consists of many already professional players, of whom majority play in the Belarussian league. In combination with the home ice advantage, Belarussians have slightly higher chances of winning the tournament.

Unfortunately, two potential Latvian team participants withdrew from the pre-tournament training camp, as they got injured. Both of them would most likely made the roster – first one of the is HK Riga players Vladislavs Dobrenkijs, but the second one – Rolands Vigners who plays for Reims of the French Division 1 and did magnificently well during the both exhibition tournaments earlier this season.

Yesterday, during the press conference assistant coach Aigars Cipruss also commented that during this season Kristians Pelss (Edmonton Oil Kings) game has improved a lot, and that he has already benefited from crossing the pond last summer.

Tournament schedule:

December 13 Great Britain
December 14 Ukraine
December 16 Japan
December 17 Italy
December 19 Belarus*

*- the game starts at 17:00 GMT and will be broadcasted by LTV7, so there is a slight chance that the game could be streamed somewhere.

Latvian U20 roster:

G Kristers Gudlevskis 1992 HK Riga MHL
G Janis Kalnins 1991 Metalurgs Liepaja-2 Latvia
D Edgars Dikis 1991 HK Riga MHL
D Ralfs Freibergs 1991 Texas Tornado NAHL
D Martins Jakovlevs 1991 HK Riga MHL
D Karlis Kalvitis 1991 HK Riga MHL
D Martins Porejs 1991 HK Riga MHL
D Arturs Salija 1992 HK Riga MHL
D Eriks Sevcenko 1991 HK Riga MHL
D Raimonds Tubelis 1991 Metalurgs Liepaja-2 Latvia
F Maris Bicevskis 1991 HK Riga MHL
F Elvijs Biezais 1991 HK Riga MHL
F Maris Dilevka 1992 Metalurgs Liepaja Belarus
F Zemgus Girgensons 1994 Dubuque Fighting Saints USHL
F Girts Jansons 1991 Muik Hockey Finland4
F Egils Kalns 1991 Metalurgs Liepaja Belarus
F Ronalds Kenins 1991 GC Kusnacht Lions NLB
F Arturs Mickevics 1991 HK Riga MHL
F Kristians Pelss 1992 Edmonton Oil Kings WHL
F Davis Straupe 1992 HK Riga MHL
F Juris Upitis 1991 HK Riga MHL
F Bruno Zabis 1991 Metalurgs Liepaja-2 Latvia

Latvian U20 candidates announced

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Latvian U20 national team head coach Leonids Beresnevs has announced those 30 players, who will take part in the pre-World Junior Championship training camp in Jelgava from December 6 until December 11.

The final roster of the team will be announced on December 10. Already the next day the team will leave for Babruysk, Belarus, where on December 13 will play already against British U20 national team.

List of the candidates:

G Janis Auzins 1991 Zemgale Latvia
G Kristers Gudlevskis 1992 HK Riga MHL
G Janis Kalnins 1991 Metalurgs Liepaja-2 Latvia
D Reinis Demiters 1991 HK Riga MHL
D Edgars Dikis 1991 HK Riga MHL
D Kristers Freibergs 1992 Metalurgs Liepaja Belarus
D Ralfs Freibergs 1991 Texas Tornado NAHL
D Martins Jakovlevs 1991 HK Riga MHL
D Karlis Kalvitis 1991 HK Riga MHL
D Martins Porejs 1991 HK Riga MHL
D Arturs Salija 1992 HK Riga MHL
D Eriks Sevcenko 1991 HK Riga MHL
D Raimonds Tubelis 1991 Metalurgs Liepaja-2 Latvia
F Maris Bicevskis 1991 HK Riga MHL
F Elvijs Biezais 1991 HK Riga MHL
F Maris Dilevka 1992 Metalurgs Liepaja Belarus
F Vladislavs Dobrenkijs 1991 HK Riga MHL
F Maksims Firsovs 1991 SK LSPA/Riga Latvia
F Zemgus Girgensons 1994 Dubuque Fighting Saints USHL
F Girts Jansons 1991 Muik Hockey Finland4
F Egils Kalns 1991 Metalurgs Liepaja Belarus
F Ronalds Kenins 1991 GC Kusnacht Lions NLB
F Edgars Kurmis 1993 HK Riga MHL
F Arturs Mickevics 1991 HK Riga MHL
F Kristians Pelss 1992 Edmonton Oil Kings WHL
F Nils Semjonovs 1991 Aberdeen Wings NAHL
F Davis Straupe 1992 HK Riga MHL
F Juris Upitis 1991 HK Riga MHL
F Rolands Vigners 1991 Reims French Division 1
F Bruno Zabis 1991 Metalurgs Liepaja Belarus