The Sochi 2014 Olympics Men’s Hockey tournament opened with a double header today, with Sweden taking on the Czech Republic and Latvia taking on Switzerland. While neither Latvia or Switzerland have an abundance of NHL players on their roster, they are still made up of the best hockey players from each respective country, so the competition was still worth following.
If you did happen to tune into the Latvia vs Switzerland game, you were not treated to very much scoring. Sweden and the Czech Republic was a goal-fest by comparison. Latvia and Switzerland appeared to be destined for overtime with the score knotted up 0-0 with less than a minute remaining in regulation. Nino Niederreiter appeared to deflect a Simon Moser shot into the net with 7.5 seconds left on the clock, giving Switzerland an opening game victory, and securing the shutout for goaltender Jonas Hiller.
You have to give credit to Latvia and goaltender Edgars Masalskis (38 saves) who were in it right to the end. Switzerland has advanced to the quarterfinals in the last two Olympic games. Latvia has not made it passed the preliminary round in the last three Olympic games.
One of the key players that will determine whether Switzerland will be able to play upset during the 2014 games is whether Jonas Hiller can stand strong between the pipes. Based off of today’s performance in net, Hiller gives the Swiss a chance to win, despite them not having the high octane offense to match the other favored teams.
Tomorrow is a much busier day in the Men’s Olympic tournament, with four games on the slat, including the United States, Canada, and Russia. Latvia and Switzerland both get a day break before Latvia takes on the Czech Republic and the Swiss meet up with Sweden.