February 19, 2014
Kristers Gudlevskis Brickwalls Canada
Every Olympics has it's amazing stories. In hockey we've already seen T.J. Oshie's shootout heroics and the Slovenians playing so well.
Then there is Kristers Gudlevskis. A $55,000 minor league backup goalie brick-walled Team Canada and their $149 million worth of NHL salary in the quarterfinal on Wednesday. Oh Canada won the game, 2-1. In fact they dominated the game. But Gudlevskis became an instant hero and almost knocked off the defending champions singlehandedly.
Gudlevskis was a surprise starter, even. Veteran Edgars Masalskis has been Latvia's top goalie all tournament long and was absolutely fantastic against Switzerland. But due to exhaustion the Latvians went with their backup.
It was the right move. Gudlevskis - who is a prospect for Steve Yzerman's Tampa Bay Lightning - stopped 55 of 57 shots and kept the score tied at 1-1 late into the third period.
Shea Weber finally solved Gudlevskis at the 13:06 mark of the third period. Patrick Sharp scored in the first period. Lauris Darzins replied for Latvia.
All of Canada tips their helmet to Gudlevskis and the Latvians. There is a party of every true hockey fan - even Canadian fans on this day - who were cheering on Gudlevskis at some level. His story was just too good of a story to not cheer for.
Canada moves, guaranteed to play for a medal. They play USA on Friday to determine who goes to the gold medal final.
USA handle Czech Republic 5-2 today. They have rolled through pretty much everybody in this tournament and have to be considered the favorite against Canada.