Not to be outdone by the Slovenians, Team Latvia made their own upset happen when it defeated Team Switzerland by a score of 3-1. It’s a pretty remarkable feat by a team that finished 12th in 2010.
The game was a grudge match from their very first game of the preliminary round which remained scoreless until Switzerland’s Simon Moser scored with 7.9 seconds remaining in regulation to secure the win. This time, the Latvians took a 2-0 lead into the first intermission on goals by Oskars Bartulis and Lauris Darzins. Martin Pluss got a goal back for the Swiss in the second period which prompted a furious finish for both teams. Darzins sealed the win with an empty-netter and his second of the game.
Both teams had their problems scoring goals in the tournament with each only scoring five in the three preliminary games. However, it only takes one goal to win in the Olympics, and that’s even more amazing considering Latvia hadn’t won a single game to this point. They won when it mattered, though, and that’s the spirit of the tournament.
Now the team has an immense challenge in front of them as they are set to play the powerhouse Canadians tomorrow. Team Canada is a favorite to win the gold medal, and they boast more household names on one line than Latvia has on its entire team. To say this is a David and Goliath-esque matchup is the understatement of the year. But don’t tell that to Latvia. Just like Team Slovenia, they are ecstatic to just to have the opportunity to be where they are. And just like Slovenia, they are going to revel in the moment and have the time of their lives no matter the outcome.