Swedes, Swiss get off to solid hockey start
SOCHI, Russia (AP) — Sweden scored early and often. Switzerland waited until the last minute.
They’re both off to solid starts in Olympic men’s hockey.
Erik Karlsson scored two goals in the Swedes’ 4-2 victory over the Czech Republic on Wednesday night, and Simon Moser scored with 7.9 seconds left in Switzerland’s 1-0 victory over Latvia in the opening games of the Sochi tournament.
Karlsson and fellow young defenseman Oliver Ekman-Larsson made impressive Olympic debuts for Sweden, the gold medal winners in 2006. Although goalie Henrik Lundqvist is among several returning players from that championship team, young talent stepped up in what’s likely the Swedes’ toughest game of the preliminary round.
Captain Henrik Zetterberg and Patrik Berglund also had goals, and Lundqvist made 27 saves. Sweden scored four times on its first 11 shots, chasing Czech goalie Jakub Kovar at the Bolshoy Ice Dome and taking a 4-0 lead early in the second period.
Jaromir Jagr scored a goal in his fifth Olympics for the Czechs, who couldn’t overcome their shaky goaltending situation. Marek Zidlicky also scored, but the Czechs couldn’t beat Lundqvist in a scoreless third period.
Moser got an unlikely game-winning goal after 59 scoreless minutes between favored Switzerland and Latvia, which has never made it past preliminary-round play. Moser made his NHL debut with the Nashville Predators earlier this month, joining Swiss teammate Roman Josi.
Moser’s goal secured a shutout for Anaheim Ducks goalie Jonas Hiller, who made 21 saves. He also delivered a hard-luck loss to Latvian goalie Edgars Masalskis, who made 38 saves.
Preliminary-round play gets rolling Thursday with four games, including the debuts for Russia, Canada and the United States.