By Matt Calamia
Rick Nash picked up an assist in Team Canada’s 2-1 win over Latvia in the quarterfinals, setting up a rematch of the 2010 Gold Medal game against Team USA in the semi-finals.
Latvia, to the shock of many, hung in with Canada despite being out-shot, 57-16. The score, though, did not reflect the game on the ice, as Canada dominated from start to finish but were held at bay by Kristers Gudlevskis, who was sensational in making 55 saves.
Nash easily played the best game of his tournament. He found his was onto the scoresheet for the first time in Sochi after he scooped up a loose puck, swung around the net and found Patrick Sharp on the side of the net, who beat Gudleskis to give Canada the 1-0 lead at 13:37 of the first period.
Latvia answered back 2:04 later when Lauris Darzins snuck in behind the Canadian defenseman, broke in alone and beat Carey Price top-shelf to knot the game. It was the only blemish on Price's record, as he picked his third win of the tournament.
The score remained tied until 6:54 left in the third period. With Canada up a man after a penalty to Georgijs Pujacs, Shea Weber fired a one-time blast from the point that finally beat Gudlevskis to give Canada the 2-1 lead.
Nash started the game on a line with Sharp and John Tavares, but later moved onto a line centered by Sidney Crosby in the third period after Tavares left the game with an injury. Nash finished the game with one shot and a plus-1 rating in 10:58 of ice time.
With Team USA’s 5-2 win over the Czech Republic, the two North American powerhouses will meet Friday in the semi-finals, with the winner moving onto Sunday’s Gold Medal contest. The loser will play for Bronze on Saturday.