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Latvia beats Czechs to reach world junior quarterfinals

Latvia's Ralfs Bergmanis (16), Martins Lavins (6) and Girts Silkalns (15) celebrate a goal against Czechia during second-period IIHF world junior hockey championship game action in Edmonton, Alberta, Sunday, Aug. 14, 2022. (Jason Franson/The Canadian Press via AP)

EDMONTON, Alberta (AP) — Ralfs Bergmanis had a hat trick and Latvia beat the Czech Republic 5-2 on Sunday to secure a quarterfinal spot in the world junior championship.

Latvia (1-2-1) was third in Group A, a spot ahead of the Czech Republic (1-2-1). Latvia got into the event when Russia and Belarus were expelled.

Earlier, Kasper Simontaival had two goals and an assist in Finland’s 9-3 victory over Slovakia in Group A. Joel Maatta also scored twice for Finland (2-1). Slovakia finished 0-3-1.

The United States faced Sweden in Group B lead in the late game.