OLYMPICS: Slovenia Beat Austria to Earn Quarter-Finals

Sochi, 18 February - The Slovenian men's ice-hockey team defeated Austria on Tuesday 4:0 (2:0, 1:0, 1:0) in a play-off match for the quarter-finals of the Olympic tournament in Sochi. Slovenia will play Sweden, the first-ranked hockey team in the world, in the knock-out match on Wednesday.

Sochi, Russia
Slovenian national ice hockey team at the Sochi Winter Olympics
Photo: Stanko Gruden/STA

Slovenia stormed out of the gate in the do-or-die match against the neighbours, with the recuperated NHL star Anže Kopitar scoring already in the 6th minute after a flurry of attacks on the Austrian goalie.

Kopitar, who was taken out of previous match against the US due to a stomach ailment, continued to lead Slovenia's aggressive attack, which resulted in a 2:0 lead in the 12th minute despite Slovenia being one player down.

While it was expected from Austria to fight back in order not to fall too far behind, the opposite happened as Slovenia increased the lead only five minutes into the second period through Sabahudin Kovačević.

The Austrians were desperate in the last period and decided to take out the goalie in the last minutes, which only resulted in Slovenia increasing the lead to 4:0 with a fast-break by Jan Muršak in the 58th minute.

Slovenia, which only has 150 registered ice-hockey players, is heading for the quarter-finals in what is their first Olympic ice hockey tournament ever. The team scored its first win against Slovakia last week, while falling to powerhouses Russia and the US.

© STA, 2014