The dark horse Swiss look to advance to the quarterfinals for a date against Canada as they take on a scrappy Latvian team looking for the upset.
Latvia has been a constant on the international hockey stage over the last decade or so as they continue to be a power outside the group of eight and always seem to find their way into major world competitions. However, it hasn’t come easy as they have been a tournament doormat in those appearances and don’t have a lot of NHL level talents to brag about despite having Ted Nolan as their head coach. This seems to be a different Latvian team however as they have played considerably well in these Games and were an unlucky bounce away from forcing overtime with the Swiss in their tournament opener which could have very well led to a Latvian victory. They get a shot at redemption here against the Swiss in what is a qualification game for the knock out phase and if they can play the same style they did in the tournament opener they have a very real shot at getting redemption and playing their way into the quarterfinals against Canada.
Switzerland meanwhile has been a team on the rise over the last decade as they seem to give the top teams in the world fits including Canada and the US in Vancouver and Sweden here in Sochi. Jonas Hiller has been the goalie of the tournament thus far as he has kept the Swiss in every they have played and with an offense that can’t seem to get going he has to be sharp if they want to reach the podium. Switzerland does have more NHL talent now than they have ever had before and while that is usually a huge bonus it hasn’t seemed to matter in these Games especially in the offensive zone. The opening game of the tournament was very exciting between these teams and while not a whole lot has changed in my opinion over the last week or so I do think this game favours the Swiss. While they may not be able to score I think they will take advantage of counter attack opportunities as Latvia will be pressing to score and ultimately I think Switzerland does enough to not only win but to clinch it by two goals.