Sweden’s offense didn’t take a backseat on Monday, following up a 6-1 win over Austria with an 8-1 destruction over Latvia.
The Latvians showed some early muscle, but it would be a goal by the Swedes that would get the game started off offensively. While on the power-play, the Swedes were put in a tough situation when the Latvians had a 2-on-1 opportunity. Fortunately for the Tre Kronor, Jhonas Enroth, who always plays well internationally, made a big save of the pad to prevent the shorthanded goal. Loui Eriksson would take the puck back the other way, beating Edgars Masalskis after the puck bounced off a defender and over his shoulder to give the Swedes the 1-0 lead.
The Latvians had a scary moment to start off the second period. With the team in the offensive zone, Krišjānis Rēdlihs blocked a shot from his own defenseman and would miss some time trying to get his breath back.
The middle frame saw some very even action, as the Latvians were hoping to finally scare an opponent into making some mistakes. A too-many-men on the ice penalty at 8:22 into the period allowed the Swedes to get a power-play goal, taking the 2-0 lead. On the play, Mattias Ekholm took a shot from far out, but Masalskis had no issue making the pad save. Poor defensive coverage, however, would allow Eriksson to pick up his second of the game, backhanding it over the Latvian netminder to extend Sweden’s lead.
The Latvians would answer on a power-play of their own. With Elias Lindholm in the box for the Swedes, Kaspars Daugavins would take a hard shot towards Enroth that would get stopped. A second later, Lauris Darzins scored on the rebound after picking up the puck and sending it over the Dallas Star netminder to cut the lead to just one,
The Swedes would get one back almost instantly. After Filip Forsberg, the hero scored a hat-trick against Austria yesterday, went in all alone on the breakaway, Kristaps Sotnieks would be called for hooking, giving Forsberg the penalty shot. In typical Forsberg fashion, the Nashville Predators star made a nice quick deke on Masalskis to take the 3-1 lead.
Before the period came to a close, the Swedes were able to take a 4-1 lead from, well, guess who. Eriksson would notch his third of the contest after getting a mid-air deflection of an original shot by Jonas Ahnelov’s to make it 4-1 late in the period.
Sweden’s Oscar Moller would put Sweden up by four goals around five minutes into the final period. Oliver Ekman-Larsson has been having a strong tournament, and after a strong effort by Moller in the scrum, the Swedes would pot the 5-1 goal. The Latvians were hoping that’s all that their opponents would be able to muster in the final 20, but thanks to goals by Jacob Josefson, Joel Lundqvist and Victor Rask, the Swedes would finish the game with the 8-1 victory.
Sweden will look to stay undefeated in an important game against Canada on Wednesday, a match that should go down to the wire. Latvia will look to secure a victory against the Swiss that same day, a game that should also be rather interesting after some interesting contests back in 2014.
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