The Latvian hockey team had not beat a team ranked in the top eight in Olympic competition in its’ last 11 attempts. On Wednesday, they played a spirited contest against Switzerland; and it momentarily looked like they would have a chance to snap that streak in overtime
Tied 0-0 for almost the entirety of regulation; all that separated them from the sudden death extra stanza was eight seconds. Those eight seconds must have felt like a lifetime.
As time dwindled down, Swiss forward Simon Moser attempted to pass to teammate Nino Niederreiter from behind the Latvian net. Instead it hit off the stick of goaltender Edgars Masalskis, then the body of defenseman Georgijs Pujacs and slowly rolled into the net to seal the Swiss 1-0 victory.
"It was an unfortunate bounce," said Latvian captain Sandis Ozolinsh. "Of course we are disappointed with the outcome of the game but I think we cannot be ashamed of the way we played. We played our hearts out."
This was especially true of Masalskis, who was peppered by 39 shots, courtesy of the Swiss. Despite only having one NHL player on their roster (Buffalo Sabres rookie Zemgus Girgensons), Latvia did put in a spirited effort; only to ultimately come away empty-handed.
"We battled with all our hearts," said Ozolinsh. "We didn't get much luck, but there's no point saying we could have done this or that. The score is the only thing that matters now."