Olympic Hockey Day 1 Recap: Sweden Dominates Early, Latvia Loses Late

Richard Mackson-USA TODAY Sports

Sweden gets out to an early 4-0 lead in their victory over the Czech Republic and Latvia gives up a goal with eight seconds left in regulation to the Swiss.

Group C was the lucky group to get men's hockey started in Sochi for the 2014 Winter Olympics. The Swedes opened the games against the veteran team in the Czech Republic and the Latvians played host to the Swiss.

Czech Republic vs. Sweden

The pre tournament favorites in Group C, Sweden, showed why they were the most likely team to emerge out of this group and into the Quarterfinals. They got out to a 4-0 lead by the middle of the second period and chased goaltender Jakub Kovar. In a questionable decision, the Czechs decided to not even dress their lone NHL goaltender in Ondrej Pavelec and decided to roll with Kovar and Alexander Salak.

Erik Karlsson scored twice for Sweden, while Patrik Berglund and Henrik Zetterberg scored the other two goals. Seven Swedes registered at least one assist with Oliver Ekman-Larsson getting two assists. Henrik Lundqvist made 27 saves on 29 shots.

For the Czechs, they did manage to find the back of the net after giving up four goals. Both Jaromir Jagr and Marek Zidlicky scored in the second period and the Czechs could continue their scoring pace in the third. Tomas Kaberle, Patrik Elias, and Tomas Plekanec each registered assists.

Switzerland vs. Latvia

The Latvians came out and played a plucky game against an overmatched Switzerland team on Wednesday. They then had their hearts promptly ripped out of them as Switzerland scored the only goal of the game with eight seconds left in regulation to get a 1-0 victory. Simon Moser scored the game winning goal and Latvian goaltender Edgars Masalskis made 38 saves on 39 shots in the losing effort.

How Did The Sabres Do?

Zemgus Girgensons played a total 14:33 and registered zero shots on net and only won two of thirteen faceoffs. Henrik Tallinder played a total of 3:39 and didn't leave the bench for the full third period. Jhonas Enroth did a fantastic job opening the door and keeping the bench warm.

Thursday's Schedule

3:00 am eastern - Finland vs. Austria

7:30 am eastern - Slovakia vs. United States

7:30 am eastern - Russia vs. Slovenia

12:00 pm eastern - Canada vs. Norway

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