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Latvia bounces Switzerland, 3-1

ADLER, Russia -- Over the weekend, Jonas Hiller talked about hoping to get the chance to play against a couple of his NHL teammates in the quarterfinals of the Olympic hockey tournament.

Unfortunately for Hiller, the next time he'll face Ryan Getzlaf and Corey Perry will be in a Ducks' practice.

Hiller and his teammates from Switzerland were upset Tuesday, eliminated by Latvia, 3-1. So the Latvians are the ones to advance against Getzlaf, Perry and the rest of Team Canada on Wednesday. The winner of that game will face the Czech Republic-United States winner in the semifinals.

"It's disappointing," Hiller said. "I think we're all disappointed. We came here expecting to at least make the quarterfinals."

The victory was the first at the Olympics for Latvia since 2002. The country never has finished higher than ninth in the Games, and was last in 2006 and 2010.

The Swiss beat Latvia, 1-0, earlier here, and the Latvians entered the elimination phase of the tournament with an 0-3 record.

Latvia's roster includes only one player currently in the NHL (the Swiss had eight) along former NHL and Ducks defenseman Sandis Ozolinsh, who, at 41, is the team captain.

"It was a long, hard road to here, but we stuck together as a team and battled through it and came out winners," Ozolinsh said. "We're pretty glad with our play today."

Asked what the victory might mean for hockey in his homeland, Ozolinsh said, "You've got to ask someone who is not as excited right now as I am."

As it did all tournament, Switzerland struggled to score, unable to cash in on several first-period chances, falling behind, 2-0, and never able to catch up.

In finishing the tournament 2-2, the Swiss scored only three times. Their two victories were 1-0 shutouts behind Hiller.

"You might win some games 1-0," forward Martin Pluss said. "But in the long run you have to be able to score more."

Oskars Bartulis and Lauris Darzins scored in the opening period for Latvia. Screened on the play, Hiller didn't appear to see Bartulis' shot until it was too late.

Darzins' goal was one Hiller probably should have stopped, the puck going in off his shoulder.

Pluss made it 2-1 late in the second period, and that's where the score stayed until the Latvians added an empty-net goal.

Bartulis' goal was the first Hiller allowed in the tournament, on the 49th shot he saw.

"We have had problems with scoring in the past, but nothing like this," said Swiss forward Damien Brunner, whose NHL job is with New Jersey. "When you have a lot of offensive guys who can't score, it's always a thing that gets stuck in your head."

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