Arturs Silovs wins historic bronze medal, named IIHF Championship Tournament MVP
Abbotsford Canucks’ goaltender Arturs Silovs lead his country to a historic bronze medal at the 2023 IIHF World Championships, the first ever medal at the tournament for Team Latvia.
Arturs Silovs was the lone representative from Abbotsford’s 2022-23 season to be selected to compete at the tournament in Tampere Finland, as well his hometown of Riga Latvia.
After coming as a relief to Latvian netminder Ivars Punnenovs in the opening game, Silovs never looked back after being named the starter. Silovs won 7 of the 9 games that he started, going 7-2 in that stretch. He racked up a .921 save percentage, played the most minutes of any goaltender in the tournament, and recorded a shut out.
After dropping the first two games, Latvia then rattled off five consecutive wins to finish third place in the competitive Group B. Four of those five victories were by a one-goal margin, and a pair of them requiring Overtime.
Latvia’s time in the tournament was in jeopardy on the final day of action in the group stage, as they needed to beat undefeated group leaders, Switzerland. Off the back of a 28 save performance from Arturs, including several key saves in the final minutes, Latvia grabbed the game winning goal, sending the host country through to the quarter finals.
There, they faced Sweden and were playing their final game on home soil, where Silovs once again put up an impressive performance on the back end. His showing in the final eight included him stopping 40 shots as Latvia kept on dancing their way through to the semi finals.
After a semi-final defeat to Canada, Latvia were competing for their first ever medal at the championships against the USA.
After turning aside 26 of the 29 American efforts through 60 minutes, the game was pushed to Overtime as the score read 3-3. On the first shot of the extra frame, Kristians Rubins scored the goal that will forever lay in Latvian history, finding the back of the net and securing Latvia’s first ever medal at the IIHF World Championships.
In front of over 11,000 fans, many who donned a Latvian sweater, the arena erupted as Latvia celebrated their accomplishment.
Following the conclusion of the gold medal contest, which was won by Team Canada, the IIHF announced Silovs as the tournament MVP. He became the fifth goalie to win the award since 1999, joining a list of Dennis Endras (Germany 2010), Viktor Fasth (Sweden 2011), Pekka Rinne (Finland 2014) and Juho Olkinuora (Finland 2022).