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Sweden Too Much For Latvians in Group C Opener

Group C play in Beijing has begun with Sweden skating to a 3-2 win over Latvia on Thursday.
Anton Lander

Group C play in Beijing has begun with Sweden skating to a 3-2 win over Latvia on Thursday.

Sweden now has a 3-0 record against Latvia in Olympic competition, last winning 5-3 in a great battle back during the 2014 Olympics in Sochi.

The scoring started at 9:42 off the back of former NHLer Lucas Wallmark. Standing alone in the slot after pinching in at the last second, Wallmark one-timed a feed from Pontus Holmberg to make it 1-0. 

Anton Lander then made it 2-0 just 30 seconds into the middle stanza after getting a rebound created by Mattias Brome and deking Ivars Punnenovs to double up the advantage.

The Wallmark show continued late in the second period. Once again, he scored on a one-timer, this time after putting his perfectly placed shot above Punnenovs' glove and in off of a Henrik Tommernes feed 13 minutes into the frame.

But Latvia wouldn't leave the second without something to cheer about. Renars Krastenbergs scored the team's first goal of the tournament on the power play with a powerful wrist shot off the top bar and in with four minutes to go in the frame to keep things interesting.

And interesting it got. With 13 minutes left in regulation, Nikolajs Jelisejevs scored on a nice move to beat Lars Johansson on the man advantage to make it 3-2. It was just Latvia's 10th shot of the game, showcasing the team's efficiency, but it wouldn't be enough as Johansson shut the door the rest of the way to secure the win.

Both teams will be back in action on Friday, with Sweden meeting up with Slovakia at 3:40 AM ET before Latvia takes on Finland at 8:10 AM.

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