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Sweden beats Latvia 5-3, finishes group stage undefeated

Feb 15, 2014, 2:30 PM EDT

Team Sweden celebrates forward Jimmie Ericsson's goal as Latvia goalkeeper Kristers Gudlevskis skates away during the 2014 Winter Olympics men's ice hockey game at Shayba Arena Saturday, Feb. 15, 2014, in Sochi, Russia. (AP Photo/Matt Slocum) AP

It wasn’t the  blowout many expected, but Sweden still earned a convincing 5-3 victory over Latvia on Saturday to complete its sweep of Group C and secure no worse than a second seed in the playoffs.

Latvia played with a lot of tenacity and frequently challenged Swedish goaltender Henrik Lundqvist, but the Latvians also lacked discipline and that proved to be their downfall. Sweden’s first four goals were all scored with the man advantage. With several of the Swedes’ top forwards gone, they also relied on their depth to carry them through this contest as five different players found the back of the net: Patrick Berglund, Erik Karlsson, Daniel Alfredsson, Alex Edler and Jimmie Ericsson.

Ericsson, a 33-year-old Swedish league forward playing on a team full of NHL talent, ended up the hero today by scoring the game-winning goal.

Latvian netminder Kristers Gudlevskis surrendered five goals on 29 shots, but was solid in spite of the scoresheet. The 21-year-old netminder serving in Tampa Bay’s minor league system made some impressive saves in this contest, even if the end result wasn’t pretty.

With this win, Sweden will wait for the conclusion of the Finland vs. Canada match on Sunday to find out where they will finish in the rankings. They are already guaranteed to advance to the quarterfinals but, with a goal differential of just plus-five, Sweden won’t be able to rank higher than the winner of the Canada-Finland game if either of them get three points.

Therefore, Sweden needs to hope that the contest goes to overtime.

Latvia, meanwhile, lost all three of its group matches but with a goal differential of just minus-five, it has a good shot of finishing with the 10th seed, which is the highest among the last-place teams.

  1. imgoingtowichita - Feb 15, 2014 at 3:24 PM

    That EK kid is pretty good, wow. Swedes would be the Slovaks without him playing half the game.

  2. kaptaanamerica - Feb 15, 2014 at 4:18 PM

    Erik Karlsson was the reason Sweden won that game… he’s the best player in this tournament

  3. sportsfan69 - Feb 15, 2014 at 5:22 PM

    Lundqvist looked terrible today. I hope it’s not a new trend. He looked tentative.

    • blomfeld - Feb 15, 2014 at 9:40 PM

      Achtung Comrade Sportsfan69 !

      It’s okay friend, as comrade Lundqvist is sure to get back into ‘form’ for his next outing … after all, he’s one of the ‘top 5′ goaltenders in the world according to even the Russians themselves ! :)

      ______________________________________________________________

      *** Top Goaltenders Playing at the Sochi Winter Olympics ***

      1) Jonathan Quick
      2) Sergei Bobrovsky
      3) Carey Price
      4) Henrik Lundqvist (Made in Sweden) :)
      5) Ryan Miller

      28) Kari Lehtonen
      29) Alexander Ovechkin
      30) Roberto Luongo

      source: Igor Pavlov @ Izvetsia Sport News

      • sportsfan69 - Feb 15, 2014 at 11:10 PM

        Good you’re alive, I thought you died in the Keisel. LOL! It’s great hear from you my friend, conrade.

  4. pr0jecktpat - Feb 15, 2014 at 7:07 PM

    After watching the USA vs Russia game, then this game, it looked like both the Swedes and Latvians were playing in slow motion. The Latvians turned it on eventually and never gave up, but the Swedes won today on talent alone.

    Sweden needs to play better if they expect to beat real contenders this tournament. The US, Russia, and Canada are looking good right now (Russia played better today than their previous outing).

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