Winter Olympics: Germany out, debutants Denmark reach quarter-finals

Germany's Korbinian Holzer, Konrad Abeltshauser, and Slovakia's Peter Cehlarik vie during the men's qualification play-off match of the Beijing 2022 Winter Olympic Games ice hockey competition at the National Indoor Stadium in Beijing on Feb 15, 2022. PHOTO: AFP

BEIJING (REUTERS) - Germany crashed out of the Olympic men's ice hockey competition on Tuesday (Feb 15) as debutants Denmark moved into the quarter-finals and the tournament again lived up to its unpredictable billing.

Germany, surprise silver medallists at the 2018 Pyeongchang Games, exited after losing 4-0 to Slovakia in the qualification round and newcomers Denmark beat Latvia 3-2 to advance. Switzerland also contributed to a day of upsets by easing past the Czech Republic 4-2.

"They were hard on us, they won more battles and that's how you win hockey games - and we just didn't do it consistently enough throughout the game," German forward Tom Kuhnhackl said.

"Obviously, this tournament didn't go as we planned it, as we expected it but that's just a small setback. We've got to work on small details and we're just going to come back even stronger."

Germany were outworked at both ends of the rink by the Slovakians and, when they did get a scoring chance, could not get a puck past netminder Patrik Rybar, who made 21 saves to earn the shutout.

Slovakia's Libor Hudacek claimed the only goal in a tight opening period and they took control in the second when Peter Cehlarik and Michal Kristof scored 1:44 apart before captain Marek Hrivik closed out the scoring in the third.

Deadlocked at 2-2 with Latvia heading into the third period, Markus Lauridsen's power-play goal sent Denmark through to the last eight.

The teams traded goals in the two opening periods, Morten Poulsen and Julian Jakobsen counting for Denmark and captain Lauris Darzins getting both Latvia goals.

Denmark, Slovakia and Switzerland joined group winners the United States, Finland and defending champions the Russia Olympic Committee in the quarter-finals, along with Sweden who had the best second-place record.

The final spot will be decided later on Tuesday when Canada take on China.

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