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Czech Republic will stick with Pavelec on Saturday

Feb 14, 2014, 8:18 AM EDT

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SOCHI, RUSSIA - FEBRUARY 14: Ondrej Pavelec #31 of Czech Republic looks on in the first period against Latvia during the Men's Ice Hockey Preliminary Round Group C game on day seven of the Sochi 2014 Winter Olympics at Bolshoy Ice Dome on February 14, 2014 in Sochi, Russia. Getty Images

The Czech Republic started the Olympic tournament with a shocker by listing the team’s only NHL goaltender, Ondrej Pavelec, as a healthy scratch against Sweden.

They went with KHL standout Jakub Kovar instead, who ended up allowing three goals on 10 shots before being yanked early in the second period. After enduring that 4-2 loss, the Czechs decided to go with Pavelec versus Latvia.

The Winnipeg Jets netminder wasn’t challenged often, but he did turn aside 18 of 20 shots in the Czech Republic’s 4-2 victory. With the team now 1-1, they will stick with Pavelec for Saturday’s match against Switzerland, according to the Winnipeg Free Press’ Gary Lawless.

This will be a key game for positioning for both countries ahead of the single elimination portion of the tournament. The Czech Republic will be seen as the favorites going into this match, but the Swiss are a legitimate threat.

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