The Czech Republic opened up the Olympics with a 4-2 loss against the Swedes, and today they looked to bounce back against Team Latvia, who also lost their first match of the Olympics. Latvia put up a good fight against a heavy favored Swiss team on the first day, and were stunned by a goal in the dying seconds of the third period. Both teams were certainly hungry for their first win today, puck drop was at noon local Sochi time, 3:00 AM EST.
In the first period the Czechs out-shot the Latvian team 16-8, and found themselves in the lead when the horn sounded. Martin Erat opened up the scoring, putting one past Latvian goaltender Edgars Masalskis, giving the Czechs an early lead. Latvia didn’t let the Czechs have the lead for long though, just minutes later Latvian forward Janis Sprukts scored on Ondrej Pavelec to tie the game back up. Jaromir Jagr capitalized on a Czech Republic powerplay late in the first period to gain the lead back for the Czechs heading into the second period.
Latvia didn’t back down though, scoring a quick goal in the second period to tie the game back up – Herberts Vasiļjevs recorded a goal just 2 minutes and 45 seconds into the second period. The Czech Republic responded though, and took control of the game by scoring two more goals in the second period – Jakub Voracek and Marek Zidlicky were the goal scorers. No goals were scored in the third period, and the Czech Republic would hold on for the win, 4-2, keeping their hopes alive in the Olympics.
Czech netminder Ondrej Pavelec faced 20 shots in the game, and Latvian goaltender Edgars Masalskis held off 35 of 39 shots in the loss. The difference maker, Jaromir Jagr, the veteran winger scored a big goal at the end of the second period to gain the lead heading into the second period. The Latvian goaltender also showed resilience in net today, the score may not have showed it, but Masalskis has kept the Latvians from being blown out in the Olympics.
The Czechs play again tomorrow in a late game, puck drop is at 9:00 PM local Sochi time, noon EST – they will face Switzerland. Latvia will also play tomorrow, same time as the Czechs, and they are matched-up against a very talented Swedish team.