Canada earns No. 3 seed with overtime victory
SOCHI -- Drew Doughty's goal at 2:32 of overtime gave Canada a 2-1 win against Finland on Sunday and a bye into the quarterfinals at the 2014 Sochi Olympics men's hockey tournament.
The Canada-Finland game was the final one of the preliminary round and set the stage for the knockout portion of the tournament.
With the teams needing extra time to decide a winner, Sweden clinched the No. 1 spot in the preliminary round. The United States, which beat Slovenia 5-1 on Sunday, earned the No. 2 seed. Canada, the winner of Group B, finished third. Finland, with seven points, had the most points of any non-Group winner and earned the final bye into the quarterfinals Wednesday.
The remaining eight teams play Tuesday in elimination games to determine the other four quarterfinalists. There are no games Monday. Times and venues for the qualification and quarterfinal games will determined during an International Ice Hockey Federation directorate meeting Monday.
Russia, which beat Slovakia 1-0 in a shootout Sunday, had a chance to grab the fourth seed had Canada or Finland won by a blowout. But when that game went to overtime, Russia was left in fifth place and the need to prepare for an elimination game Tuesday against Norway, the No. 12 seed. Playing that extra game is something that was not expected by many when the tournament started.
The winner will play Finland on Wednesday. Finland beat Norway 6-1 on Feb. 14.
One positive for Russia is the fact that at the 2010 Vancouver Olympics Canada had to follow a similar route after losing to the United States in preliminary-round play and went on to beat the U.S. in the gold-medal game.
"Playing is better than training," Russia forward Ilya Kovalchuk said Sunday. "We'll go out and focus. Now we can't lose. All the games could bring elimination."
Another qualification game will feature seventh-seeded Czech Republic against 10th-place Slovakia. The winner of that game will face the United States in the quarterfinals. The Americans beat Slovakia 7-1 in the preliminary-round opener for both teams.
Slovenia finished eighth and will play the ninth-place team, Austria. One of those teams will reach the quarterfinals for the first time in the history of their nation. Austria finished fifth in 1928 but that tournament was played under a format which did not include a quarterfinal round.
The winner of that game will face top-seeded Sweden.
Latvia finished 11th and will play the sixth-place team, Switzerland. Those teams played a classic during the opening day of group play. Switzerland won 1-0 on a goal scored by Simon Moser with 7.9 seconds remaining in regulation.
The winner would get Canada on Wednesday.
Author: Shawn P. Roarke | NHL.com Senior Managing Editor