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Nolan praises Ozolins' contribution to Latvia's win at Olympic qualification tournament

Ted Nolan.
 RIGA, Feb 11 - The experienced defender Sandis Ozolins "contributed enormously" to Latvian national hockey team's victory in Olympic qualifiers in Riga, the team's head coach Ted Nolan said after the tournament's last game on Sunday.

As reported, Latvia lost the game 2-3 to France in the overtime, but thanks to the tie in regulation time, the team qualified for the fourth straight Olympic Games.
"This is the first time I've been in a tournament like this, where every game is important," said Nolan. "We are just extremely happy and proud for the country," he said, adding that France was a very good team.

Nolan praised the performance of Ozolins and forward Aleksandrs Nizivijs. Commenting on Ozolins' play, Nolan said: "If it wasn't for a guy like him, when France took a two-nothing lead, it could have been three nothing, it could have been four nothing. All of a sudden he settled the team down, and when you have players like this it really helps".

Nolan also said that three best players on the Latvian team were Ozolins, goalkeeper Edgars Masalskis and forward Lauris Darzins.

"I could not wait for this day and I could not wait for this moment to say, we're going, so... I'm honored," said Nolan.

In the Sochi Olympic Games, Latvia will play in Group C together with the Czech Republic, Sweden and Switzerland. Group B includes Finland, Canada, Norway and Austria, whereas Group A includes Russia, Slovakia, the United States and Slovenia.

Latvian national hockey team has participated in four Olympic Games: in 1036, 2002, 2006 and 2010. Latvia's best achievement was ninth place at the 2002 Olympics.

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