Canada probably wasn’t expecting to see Latvia in the quarterfinals, yet that’s who they’ll be facing. The Latvians came up with a gutsy victory over the heavily favored Swiss to earn the right to play the defending Gold medal winner from the 2010 Winter Olympics.
Contests don’t get much more David vs Goliath than this.
Latvia lacks the depth of Canada at every position. While the Canadians have been able to scratch the defending Norris Trophy winner and Art Ross Trophy recipient throughout the round robin portion of this tournament, the Latvians only roster a single current NHL player is Zemgus Girgensons.
The underdog squad has a noteworthy amount of NHL experience on the blue line with Sandis Ozolinsh, Oskars Bartilus and Arturs Kulda manning the points. Frankly, that trio pales in comparison to Shea Weber, Duncan Keith and Drew Doughty. This is a team tournament though, and in theory, any team can win on any given night.
The Latvians had to defeat a Swiss team that was thought capable of giving teams like Canada a hard time. Will Latvia be able to carry that torch as they try to take part in the biggest Olympic upset in recent memory by taking out the Canadians? Literally everything would have to go right for Latvia while Canada would need to implode, but hey, stranger things have happened.