After a rocky start to the 2014 Olympics in a loss to Sweden, the Czech Republic bounced back with a 4-2 win against Latvia on Friday.
The Czechs might not be the same power they once were, yet there was still a familiar story, as Jaromir Jagr captivated on and off the ice. Jagr, 42, scored the game-winner on a scorching shot.
The Czech Republic out-scored Latvia 2-1 in both the first and second periods before coasting to a 4-2 win following a scoreless final frame. They generated a 39-20 shot differential in almost uniformly doubling Latvia’s output in each period.
Generally speaking, the Czech Republic can be heartened by some solid work from expected go-to players. Ondrej Pavelec made his debut after surprisingly sitting out the starting game against Sweden. He stopped 18 out of 20 shots in getting the win. Marek Zidlicky was actually the leading scorer for the Czech Republic, scoring a goal and an assist. Fellow NHL players Jakub Voracek and Martin Erat also contributed a goal apiece.
Janis Sprukts and Herberts Vasiljevs scored Latvia’s two goals, with Sprukts scoring Latvia’s first tally of the Olympics after they were shut out by Switzerland in their tournament opener.
Both teams face quick turnarounds for their next games. The Czech Republic faces Switzerland and Latvia takes on Sweden on Saturday. Each of those opponents also plays today, however, so it shouldn’t be seen as a disadvantage.