Andris Dzerins scored a pair of goals, including the game-winner with 1:19 remaining in regulation, to send Latvia to a 2-1 victory over Italy at the IIHF World Championship in Cologne, Germany on Tuesday.
With the victory, Latvia improves to 3-0-0 and regains sole possession of the top seed in Group A with nine points.
Italy took an early lead when Marco Insam scored 3:38 into the contest. Latvia tied the game later in the period on the strength of a power-play goal from Dzerins, and the score would remain 1-1 until Dzerins scored the winner with a one-time shot from the inner edge of the left circle.
Latvian goalie Elvis Merzlikins (pictured above) made 21 saves. In three starts, he's stopped 76 of 78 shots for a 97.44 save percentage.
LATVIA (2), ITALY (1)
Former Amerks foward Zemgus Girgensons, coming off of a two-point performance in Latvia's win over Slovakia on Sunday, skated 17:20 of ice time but did not record a shot on goal. He and Janis Sprukts are tied for fourth on the team in scoring with two points each through three games.
The Latvians have four games remaining in the preliminary round, with a tough schedule awaiting them. In addition to their next game against Sweden (Thursday at 2:15 p.m.), they still have to play Team USA, Russia and host country Germany.
As for the other former Amerks participating in the tournament, Evgenii Davonov and the Russians look to stay undefeated when they take on Denmark on Thurday, May 11 while Michal Repik leads the Czech Republic into battle against Norway.