Feb 14 2014, 10:54 AM EST -
By Steve Keating
SOCHI, Russia (Reuters) - Sweden overcame the loss of captain Henrik Zetterberg to beat Switzerland 1-0 and clinch top spot in their group at the Sochi Olympic men's ice hockey competition on Friday.
Hours before the opening faceoff at the Bolshoy Ice Dome, the Swedes, who had already lost Johan Franzen and Henrik Sedin in the lead-up, announced Zetterberg was ruled out for the remainder of the tournament with a sore back.
Without three of their top players, the lack of offence from the Swedes was evident as the contest turned into a classic goaltending duel between Henrik Lundqvist and Switzerland's Reto Berra.
But veteran forward Daniel Alfredsson came through for the Swedes with just over six minutes to play in the third period, banging home a loose puck lying in the crease for the game's only goal.
With the win Sweden improved their record to 2-0 and cannot be overtaken at the top of Group C, while the Swiss dropped to 1-1. The Czech Republic are also 1-1 while Latvia, who the Swedes meet on Saturday, are winless.
"It (Zetterberg) is a tough loss, there is no question, we have had a few of those leading into the Olympics," said Alfredsson.
"It's like anything you deal with it and you move on.
"We're going to move forward we have good depth on our team ... nothing changes as far as our goals and what we want to accomplish."
With the loss of Zetterberg the Swedes will rely more on Lundqvist, who backstopped the country to a gold medal at the 2006 Winter Games.
Lundqvist made 26 saves to notch his third Olympic shutout while Berra was just as impressive in the Swiss net making 30 stops.
(Editing by Peter Rutherford/Clare Lovell)