Olympics-Ice hockey-Czechs edge Slovakia to reach quarter-finals

Reuters

By Steve Keating

SOCHI, Russia Feb 18 (Reuters) - Roman Cervenka scored twice as the Czech Republic stormed to an early lead then held on for 5-3 win over Slovakia on Tuesday to reach the quarter-finals of the Olympic men's ice hockey competition.

The Czechs, Olympic champions in 1998, will now face off against the United States on Wednesday for a place in the semi-finals.

After a strong fourth place finish at the 2010 Vancouver Winter Games, Slovakia slumped out of Sochi having lost all four of their games.

The two countries that made up the former-Czechoslovakia renewed their rivalry on Olympic ice with the Czechs jumping to a 4-0 lead then dealing with a determined fightback from their neighbours.

The Czechs led 3-0 after the first period on powerplay goals from Ales Hemsky and David Krejci and an even strength score from Cervenka.

Cervenka netted his second of the night early in the second before Marian Hossa pulled one back for Slovakia to leave them trailing 4-1 heading into the final period.

Slovakia continued their rally with goals from Hossa and Tomas Surovy but could not complete the comeback, the Czechs sealing the win with a powerplay score from Tomas Plekanec with 39 seconds left to play. (Editing by Mitch Phillips)

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