After the preliminary round, Slovenia ranked 8th heading into the playoff round, and Austria 9th. Each team had one win in the Olympics tournament so far, Slovenia beating Slovakia, and Austria taking down Norway – but only one could move on to face Sweden in the quarterfinals. Puck drop was scheduled for noon local Sochi time, 3:00 AM EST, at the Bolshoy Ice Dome.
The Slovenians opened up the scoring early in the first period, Anze Kopitar scored 5 minutes into the game on the power play to make it 1-0 – assisted by Rok Ticar and Ziga Jeglic. Just past the mid-way point of the period, Team Slovenia added another goal – Jan Urbas was the goal scorer, he was assisted by Sabahudin Kovacevic. Austria had two power plays throughout the period but could not capitalize – they ended the period with 10 shots on net. Team Slovenia had one other man advantage opportunity, but failed to convert, they put up 15 shots in the first period, which ended 2-0 with Slovenia ahead of the Austrians.
The second period began with another Slovenian goal, 3:21 into the period Sabahudin Kovacevic netted the third goal of the game for Team Slovenia – assisted by David Rodman and Jan Mursak. The period rolled on with a few minor penalties, and each team getting ten shots on net. By the end of the second, Robert Kristan, the 30 year old Slovenian netminder, had made 20 saves to keep Team Slovenia up by three goals.
Team Slovenia remained up by three goals throughout the final period, Team Austria just couldn’t get the puck in the net, and their Olympic tournament fizzled out. One more goal was scored by Slovenia, and empty-netter by Jans Mursak – Team Slovenia would go on to win by a score of 4-0. Robert Kristan ended the game with 30 saves for the shutout, while Austrian netminder Mathias Lange faced 35 shots, making 31 saves in the loss.
Anze Kopitar and Team Slovenia will move on to the Quarterfinals to face Team Sweden, who was ranked #1 after the preliminary round. The two teams will face-off on the 19th, at the Bolshoy Ice Dome, puck drop will be at noon local Sochi time, 3:00 AM EST.