BRATISLAVA, May 20 (Xinhua) -- Sweden edged out Latvia 5-4 in a seesaw Group B battle at the ice hockey worlds and advanced to the quarterfinals.
The Latvians, which needed a win by two goals to make it to the quarterfinals, sat on the fifth spot of Group B and had a slim chance of advancing to the playoff stage with the top four teams, but Sweden proved to be too tough a nut to crack.
Latvia managed to tie the game up twice and they even put themselves in a 3-2 lead early in the third when defenseman Janis Jaks stormed in to push the loose puck into Henrik Lundqvist's net. But the Swedes responded with two straight goals. Anton Lander's hard shot from the right circle provided the 3-3 tie and Patric Hornqvist put the "Tre Kronor" in the lead for the third time. And again, the Latvians tied things up, but Dennis Rasmussen's empty-netter with 34 seconds left crushed their hopes and sealed the 5-4 win for Team Sweden.
Sweden's William Nylander had two assists and leads the tournament with a total of 15 points. Robert Bukarts ended the night with a hat trick for the opponents.
The two-time defending champions' last round-robin game will be against the undefeated Russians on Tuesday. The Latvians will battle Norway for the fifth place.