Slovenia continues surprising Olympic run against Sweden

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Updated: 2/18 3:44 pm

Sochi, Russia (SportsNetwork.com) - Slovenia's surprising run in the Olympic men's hockey tournament continued Tuesday with a shutout of Austria, but the road becomes much tougher on Wednesday in a quarterfinal bout with top-seeded Sweden.

The Swedes ran through Group C undefeated to earn the top overall seed in the playoff round. Sweden beat the Czech Republic, Switzerland and Latvia in the preliminary round, the only team to earn all of the possible nine points available, and was led offensively by Daniel Alfredsson and Patrick Berglund.

Alfredsson scored twice, including the only goal in Sweden's 1-0 win over the Swiss, and added an assist. Berglund also netted a pair of goals with an assist for the 1994 and 2006 Olympic champions. Alfredsson, Daniel Sedin, Niklas Kronwall and goaltender Henrik Lundqvist were part of the group that won gold in Torino eight years ago.

Lundqvist surrendered five goals and posted a save percentage .936 as the only goaltender to start all three games during the preliminary round. The Swedes have played without Henrik Zetterberg, also part of 2006 championship squad, since the opener because of a back injury and won't have him for the remainder of the tournament.

Slovenia, with Los Angeles Kings star Anze Kopitar as the lone NHL player on its roster, earned its second win of the tournament on Tuesday. After a 1-2 mark in Group A gave the Slovenes the eighth seed, they continued their first Olympics with a strong showing against the Austrians.

Robert Kristan turned aside 30 shots for a shutout and Jan Mursak and Sabahudin Kovacevic both had a goal and an assist for Slovenia. Kopitar and Jan Urbas also scored for the Slovenes.

Wednesday's winner will face the winner between Russia and Finland in the semifinals.

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