Last time we checked in on Teodors Blugers (Teddy Blueger) and Team Latvia, they were undefeated and leading their group at the IIHF World Championship. After dropping their next three contests to Sweden, Russia and the United States, it came down to the last preliminary game of the tournament to see who was moving on to the Quarterfinals.
Latvia was tested with host Germany in a winner-advances, loser goes home contest, and it did not disappoint.
Blueger and Latvia came within 33 seconds of victory, but Germany tallied on a power play with the goalie pulled to force overtime. After a scoreless extra period, Penguins prospect Frederik Tiffels delivered the only goal of the shootout in front of a raucous crowd in Cologne to give Germany a 4-3 win and catapult he and his countrymen beyond the prelims.
Germany got off to a strong start, scoring two goals 27 seconds apart midway through the second period to establish a 2-0 lead. Latvia tallied late in the middle frame to cut the German’s lead in half.
Former Rochester American Jānis Sprukts knotted the score, 2-2, at 8:22 of the third period. Roughly eight minutes later, Andris Džeriņš put Latvia in the driver’s seat with a power play goal.
Blugers and Latvia appeared poised to advance until a puck over glass delay of game penalty put them on the kill in the final two minutes of regulation. With the goalie pulled and the extra attacker on for a six-on-four advantage, Felix Schütz brought the pro-German crowd to its feet, notching an equalizer with 33 seconds remaining.
Tiffels electrified the crowd again with his shootout goal that gave his team the 4-3 win.
Bluegers wraps up his stay at the Worlds having scored one goal in seven games.
Germany advances to face Canada in the quarters, which was dealt an upset loss at the hands of Switzerland, but was still good enough to take the top spot in Group B. Tiffels will face-off against the Canadians at on Thursday, May 18. The game can be viewed by audiences in the United States on NHL Network.