Canada was likely preparing for the Swiss prior to the qualification round, but Latvia put forth a gritty effort to down Switzerland 3-1, resulting in a Latvia- Canada quarterfinal.
CANADA vs LATVIA
12:00 NOON EST
Here is how the teams match up:
Goaltending: Carey Price will get the nod for Canada. He has allowed one goal in each game he has played to date, with a couple of solid outings. For Latvia, Edgars Masalskis stopped 31 of 32 shots in the qualifier against Switzerland. He actually improved on an impressive .935 SP so far.
Defense: Drew Doughty has been the sparkplug for Canada, with 4 goals in the first 3 games, including both goals in Canada’s 2-1 overtime win against Finland. Duncan Keith and Shea Weber lead the blue line in ice time. Latvia relies heavily on the experince of former NHLer Sandis Ozolinsh as well as Oskars Bartulis and Arturs Kulda.
Forwards: Lauris Darzins leads the Latvians with 3 goals, 2 of them coming in the qualification round win over Switzerland, including the game winner. Former Senator Kaspars Daugavins plays a vital role, but it is more of a grinding style than creating much offensive. Canada has yet to have a breakout game as a team from the forwards, and that could come against a tired Latvian team. The likes of Sidney Crosby, Corey Perry and others are due.
PREDICTION: Like the Slovenians, making the top 8 is like their gold medal. Coming off an intense battle with the Swiss, you have to wonder what they have left in the tank. Canada goes to the semis.