The last time Canada played an Olympic ice hockey game against Latvia, it was early in the so-called “Nazi Olympics” of 1936 in Garmisch-Partenkirchen Germany. Canada won that game 11-0 but eventually lose the gold medal to a team of Canadian ex-patriots from Great Britain.
Latvia will get another shot at Canada Wednesday in the quarterfinal round after they eliminated Switzerland 3-1 Tuesday at Sochi. It was one of the four elimination games to fill out the second half of the eight team draw for the medal rounds.
Also advancing to the quarterfinal round are Russia who will play Finland; the Czech Republic earned the right to play the US and Slovenia who will go up against Sweden.
The Czechs, who have been erratic in this tournament, needed an empty net goal after nearly blowing a 4-0 third period lead against rival Slovakia. They settled for a 5-3 win. Tomas Plekanec scored the empty net goal. Plekanec had the empty net goal and an assist as members of his line supplied three of the five Czech goals. As usual, Plekanec led the Czech forwards in ice time at 19:39.
No surprise in Russia’s 4-0 win over Norway although they didn’t get untracked until the game was four minutes into the second period and didn’t look very good even in victory. Alexander Radulov scored twice and added an assist. Linemate Pavel Datsyuk had three assists. Andrei Markov is part of the Russian number one unit. He had 21 shifts and 18 minutes and finished with a plus-2 rating. Alexei Emelin was back in the coaches good graces after taking two bad penalties in Sunday’s game against Slovakia. He was given 18:09 and he finished plus-2 in the game.
In the other game Slovenia earned a quarterfinal date with Sweden after a 4-0 win over Austria.
In the Latvia/Switzerland game, the Latvians, who are coached by Ted Nolan now with the Buffalo Sabres, took a 2-0 lead and then their goaltender, Edgars Masalaskis took over as the Swiss outshot Latvia 12-5 in the third period. Former Canadiens defencemen Mark Streit, Raphael Diaz and Yannick Weber are out of the tournament. Streit had four shots on goal. Diaz, his defense partner had none. They played just a few seconds short of half of the third period.
Six of the seven members of the Canadiens who started the tournament are still competing; P.K. Subban and Carey Price with Canada, Max Pacioretty with the US, Plekanec with the Czechs and Russia’s Emelin and Markov. Only Slovakian goaltender Peter Budaj, who failed to make a game appearance is ready to head home.