Slovenia is the cinderella story of the 2014 Olympic Hockey tournament, as one of the ultimate underdog countries has advanced to the final 8. Their reward? The top ranked team from the preliminary round.
SWEDEN vs SLOVENIA
Wednesday Feb 19, 3:00 AM EST
Here is how the teams match up:
Goaltending: Henrik Lundqvist has played every minute so far for the 3-0 Swedes. That won’t change as he is one of the clutch goalies in the game. For Slovenia, Robert Kristan has played the same number of minutes as his Swedish counterpart, and has allowed just 1 more goal.
Defense: Erik Karlsson has played more minutes than any Swedish player and leads the team in scoring with 3 goals and 2 assists. He and his partner, Oliver Ekman-Larsson are a combined +7. Slovenia doesn’t have any household names on their blue line, but play a solid defensive game.
Forwards: With Nicklas Backstrom, Daniel Alfredsson and Daniel Sedin, the Swedes have top end talent. However, only Alfredsson and Patrick Berglund have scored goals (2 each) among the forwards that will dress for this game. Slovenia relies heavily on the line of Anze Kopitar, David Rodman and Jan Mursak for offense.
PREDICTION: It has been a good run, but this is where it ends for Slovenians. A top 8 finish probably feels like a gold medal for a country that has 5 indoor arenas. Sweden will advance to the semis.