Czech Republic holds off Slovakia, earns quarterfinal date with US

Fitzgerald Cecilio – 4E Sports Reporter

Sochi, Russian Federation (4E Sports) – Roman Cervenka scored twice as Czech Republic advanced to the quarterfinal of the Sochi men’s hockey event with a 5-3 win over Slovakia.

Tomas Plekanec, David Krejci and Ales Hemsky also scored while Ondrej Pavelec had 29 saves as the Czechs booked a spot in the quarterfinal against the United States Wednesday.

Joining Czech Republic in the quarterfinals were Russia, Latvia and Slovenia.

Slovakia ended its campaign without a victory in four games, the first time it happened to any of the countries commonly referred to as the “big seven.”

Slovakia missed injured Columbus Blue Jackets forward Marian Gaborik and scored just five goals in the four contests.

“That’s the million dollar question, it’s tough to say,” Slovakia captain Zdeno Chara said when asked what went wrong. “We had a rough game the first game against the U.S. That game kind of put us really down mentally, our confidence was not there.”

Meanwhile, No. 11 Latvia knocked off Switzerland with a 3-1 victory and will take on defending champion and Group B champion Canada Wednesday.

Russia booked a Wednesday’s date with Finland after a 5-0 rout of Norway, thanks to two goals from Alexander Radulov.

Slovenia, for its part, crushed Austria, 6-0, to earn a quarterfinal showdownwith top-ranked Sweden Wednesday.

On the women’s side, Finland blanked Russia, 4-0, to clinch fifth place while Germany finished seventh after a 3-2 win over Japan.

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