On Wednesday, February 12th, Team Switzerland and Team Latvia took the ice at the Shayba Arena in Sochi, Russia as the Men’s Hockey competition kicked off a the 2014 Winter Olympic Games. In the final seconds of the game, Team Switzerland would find the back of the net and steal one right out from under Team Latvia.
Other than two penalties on the Latvian side, the first period was rather uneventful. The second period would be much of the same; the only difference would be that the Swiss would be the ones spending the greater amount of time in the penalty box.
This game would go back and forth for just over 59 minutes with neither team being able to find the back of the net. However, this was all about to change.
With just 8 seconds left in the game, Nashville Predators center Simon Moser would fire off a shot that would find its way past Latvian goaltender Edgars Masalskis. The lone assist on the goal would be awarded to Philadelphia Flyers defenseman Mark Streit.
The Latvian team would immediately call a time out; however, at this point the clock was fighting against them. Unfortunately, Latvia simply did not have the time to pull out a tying goal, and would fall to Team Switzerland in the first game of the tournament.
You would be hard pressed to put this loss on the Latvian goaltender, though. Masalskis stopped a total of 38 shots on 39 shots on goal. Unfortunately, it is one of the most basic rules of hockey that if you continue to shoot on the net, sooner or later one of those shots is going to find the back of the net.
Masalskis ended the day with a Save Percentage of .974.
On the other side of the ice, you have Anaheim Ducks goaltender Jonas Hiller. While he certainly didn’t have to stop as many shots as Masalskis, he still had a stellar day, stopping all 21 shots brought against him.
This is certainly not the way that the Latvian team wanted to start out their Olympic journey; however, just like in every other game, only one team can come out on top, and today just wasn’t Latvia’s day.