Olympic Hockey Update 2/18
The playoff qualification games were played today and the winners are moving on to the quarterfinals where the top 4 teams from the group stage awaits.
SLOVENIA – AUSTRIA 4-0
Comment: Slovenia continues to surprise and reaching the quarterfinals is a huge achievement for the small country (just over 2 million people). Slovenian superstar Anze Kopitar scored the all important first goal for the Slovenians after 5:29 in the opening period. Jan Urbas goal after 11:57 made it 2-0 Slovenia. And with goals from Sabahudin Kovacevic in the 2nd period and Jan Mursak in the 3rd, Slovenia grab a historic 4-0 victory. Slovenia will now face Sweden in quarterfinal number one on Wednesday at 1am MT.
RUSSIA – NORWAY 4-0
Comment: Russia had some difficulties breaking through the tough Norwegian defense and after the 1st period it was still scoreless. Alexander Radulov opened up the scoring after 4:12 in the 2nd period. Radulov had a good night with two goals and an assist. Ilya Kovalchuck made it 2-0 Russia before Radulov got his second of the game with an empty net goal late in the 3rd period. Alexei Tereshenko scored the final goal of the game with 40 seconds left. Russia will now take on Finland in quarterfinal number two on Wednesday at 5:30am MT.
SWITZERLAND – LATVIA 1-3
Comment: Latvia with the upset against a Swiss team that has been hailed for its great defense throughout the tournament. The Latvians fought a hard battle all game long and head coach Ted Nolan can be proud of his men reaching the quarterfinals. Oskars Bartulis scored the opening goal after 8:38 in the 1st period. Lauris Darzins has been one of Latvia’s better players in this tournament and he scored twice against the Swiss. First the 2-0 goal after 11:19 in the 1st, and then an empty net goal to make it 3-1. Martin Pluss scored for Switzerland, and despite excellent goaltending from Jonas Hiller, it’s Latvia who will take on Team Canada in quarterfinal number three on Wednesday at 10am MT.
CZECH REPUBLIC – SLOVAKIA 5-3
Comment: The Czechs finally got some offense going but almost let Slovakia back in the game despite holding 4-0 lead. Slovakia, who has been a real disappointment, failed to win a single game. The Czechs scored three goals in the opening period, Ales Hemsky, Roman Cervenka and David Krejci the goalscorers. Cervenka got his second of the night in the 2nd period. Then came three straight goals from Slovakia, Marian Hossa x 2 and Tomas Surovy. Slovakia pulled the goaltender at the end and Tomas Plekanec scored the last goal of the night making it 5-3. The Czechs will take on Team USA in quarterfinal number four on Wednesday at 10am MT.