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February 18. 2014 8:31PM

Olympic hockey: Russian men advance; Krejci, Czechs to play U.S.

SOCHI, Russia — Russia marched into the quarterfinals of the men’s ice hockey competition at the Sochi Winter Olympics on Tuesday, joining a feel-good Slovenian team, the Czech Republic and surprising Latvia in the quarterfinals.

Despite struggling at times with their offense, the Russians scored twice in each of the last two periods to beat Norway, 4-0, and set up a quarterfinal clash with Finland today.

Alexander Radulov and Ilya Kovalchuk each had second-period goals before Radulov scored an empty-netter with 67 seconds left then Alexei Tereshenko finished off the rout in the last minute.

Sergei Bobrovsky of the Columbus Blue Jackets stopped 22 shots for the shutout while Radulov, who also had an assist, enjoyed his best game of the competition.

Slovenia, a country with just seven ice rinks, continued its fairytale run to reach the quarterfinals in their first Olympic appearance in men’s ice hockey.

Its 4-0 victory over Austria set up a quarterfinal with a powerful Swedish team that finished the preliminary round with the best record of the 12 competing teams.

The Los Angeles Kings’ Anze Kopitar, who missed most of the previous game with a stomach flu, provided Slovenia with the perfect start when his shot from the slot squeezed through Mathias Lange’s pads and trickled over the goal line less than six minutes into the game.

The Czech Republic held on to beat Slovakia, 5-3, after surviving a fierce comeback. The Czechs will play the United States today in the quarterfinals. The U.S. has named Jonathan Quick as its starting goalie.

Two goals from the Calgary Flames’ Roman Cervenka and one each from the Edmonton Oilers’ Ales Hemsky and the Boston Bruins’ David Krejci gave the Czech Republic a seemingly comfortable 4-0 lead late in the second period.

But Slovakia responded with three goals during a 13-minute stretch, that spanned the second and third periods, to set up a wild finish.

Czech captain Tomas Plekanec of the Montreal Canadiens sealed the win with an empty-netter with 39 seconds to play.


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