It was Shea Weber’s third period goal that boosted Canada over Latvia and into the semi-finals.
The game was a showcase for Latvian goalie, Kristers Gudlevskis, a Tampa Bay Lightning prospect, who nearly knocked his general manager’s team out of the Olympics. This was a surprise after starter, Edgars Masalskis, made thirty-two saves which knocked Switzerland out of the Olympics a day earlier. In his game, Gudlevskis, turned away fifty-five Canadian shots, and remained alert throughout the many times the puck found its way into the Latvian zone.
Latvia had a long road to the Olympics, and should be proud of where they finished. They won their Olympic qualifications only because they had an overtime loss and gained the extra point they needed to advance.
Scoring was opened by Patrick Sharp at 13:37 in the first, it was the sixth goal by a Canadian forward in four games. Half of those being scored by Jeff Carter, who scored those goal in just under twelve minutes in the game against Austria. Latvia answered back shortly after with Lauris Darzins’ breakaway goal.
From that point onward the Canadian assault on the Latvian net began, but Gudlevskis would not be beaten. At the other end of the ice, Canadian goalie Carey Price, spent a lot of time watching the young net minder do his thing. Price made a mere fifteen saves in the game, in which he was having a hard time staying focused on.
“He did very well tonight. He held their team in there,” Price said of the young goalie. “That was one of the best performances I’ve ever seen.”
The game remained scoreless throughout the second, and into the third. It left fans wondering if the game was going to head into overtime, but Shea Weber scored on Canada’s fifty-fourth shot of game. It broke Canada’s 1-1 tie and brought them into the semi-finals in which they will play USA.
Though the victory may have been a relief for Canada, it came with some downfalls. Canadian centre, John Tavares, left the game in the second period with an injury after he took a hard hit from Latvian defenseman Arturs Kulda and struggled to get back to the bench before eventually leaving for the dressing room. It was announced after the game that Tavares, the New York Islanders captain and NHL’s third-leading scorer with 66 points in 59 games, will miss the remainder of the tournament.
LAT 1 0 0 – 1
CAN 1 0 1 – 2
1. CAN, Sharp (Nash) 13:37
2. LAT, Darzins (Kulda, Sprukts) 15:41
Penalties – Sharp CAN (tripping) 6:18, Keith CAN (broken stick) 16:02
Penalties – Girgensons LAT (slashing) 5:37, St. Louis CAN (slashing) 10:21, Ozolinsh LAT (high sticking) 19:33
3. CAN, Weber – PPG (Doughty, Toews) 13:06
Penalties – Pujacs LAT (slashing) 11:09
SHOTS ON GOAL
LAT 6 5 5 – 16
CAN 16 19 22 – 57
Goaltenders (saves-shots against) – LAT: Gudlevskis (L, 55-57); CAN: Price (W, 15-16)
Power plays (goals-chances) – LAT: 0-3; CAN: 1-3