Group C leaders, Sweden, took on Team Latvia today as the Olympics hockey tournament continues on. Latvia is without a win so far in the preliminary round, their opponents on the other hand, had the exact opposite record. Puck drop was at 9:00 PM local Sochi time, noon EST.
The story of the day, special teams, both teams scored on the power play multiple times. The Swedes opened up the scoring late into the first period, Patrik Berglund scored the first of four power play goals. Latvia responded a few minutes later with a goal of their own, their only goal not on the power play – Lauris Darzins was the goal scorer. The first period ended with the scored tied at one.
The second period was all Team Sweden, they scored three goals to put themselves in the lead going into the final period. Before the Swedes gained the lead though, the Latvian team scored a goal early in the second period to take a 2-1 lead – Janis Sprukts scored one of two Latvian power play goals. Erik Karlsson started the scoring for Sweden in the second period, just shortly after Latvia took the lead – second of four power play goals. After successfully killing off two penalties of their own, Sweden added their third power play goal, Daniel Alfredsson was the goal scorer. The Swedes weren’t finished, Jimmie Ericsson scored the fourth power play goal, and the final goal of the second period. Score after two periods, Sweden 4, Latvia 2.
The third period started with the Latvians on the power play, and they capitalized, Zemgus Girgenson scored to make the score 4-3 early in the final period. With time running down, the Swedish team got an insurance goal, Alexander Edler scored the only even strength goal for the team, and it would put them ahead by two goals with little time left for Team Latvia.
The final score for the game was Sweden 5, Latvia 3. Surprisingly, the Latvians gave the Swedes quite a scare in this game. Not only were they only down by one goal in the third period, but they had a lead in the second frame – it may not have been for long, but it was a lead nonetheless. Henrik Lundqvist faced 23 shots, and made 20 saves for Sweden. Kristers Gudlevskis, the 21 year old Latvian netminder, faced 30 shots, stopping 25 in the loss.
Sweden has swept Group C, winning all three games played. Latvia sits at the bottom of the group with no wins in the preliminary round. Group A and B will finish their play tomorrow, the 16th, and the next round will begin on February 18th.