Victories for Sweden and Switzerland as men’s ice hockey tournament gets underway

Erik Karlsson scored twice as Sweden defeated the Czech Republic 4-2 in the opening game of the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics hockey tournament at the Bolshoi ice Dome.

Sweden built a 4-0 lead then allowed the Czechs to score two straight goals in the middle period before holding on in the third for the victory at the Bolshoi Ice Dome.

Karlsson scored the opening goal of the 2014 men's tournament halfway through the first period while the Swedes had an extra attacker on the ice because of a delayed penalty to the Czechs.

Karlsson's shot from the point beat Czech goaltender Jakub Kovar who was being screened by Sweden's Daniel Alfredsson.

Henrik Zetterberg and Patrik Berglund also scored for Sweden, who won the gold medal in 2006 in Turin.

Jaromir Jagr and Marek Zidlicky scored for the Czechs who will be looking to expunge memories of Vancouver 2010, where they finished seventh, their worst ever showing at a Winter Olympic Games.

In the day’s other match, at Shayba Arena, Switzerland ran out narrow winners against Latvia, with Simon Moser scoring the only goal of a tense encounter with seconds left on the clock.

Despite the tight scoreline, the Swiss were the dominant team for most of the match, as reflected by a short count of 39 to Latvia’s 21. Forward Nino Niederreiter posed a constant danger to Latvian goaltender Edgars Masalskis, and the Baltic team were largely restricted to counter-attacks.

With overtime looming, Moser got the goal via a deflection off a Latvian defender with just 7.9 seconds remaining. Delight for Switzerland, but heartbreak for Latvia.