Slovenia vs Austria Pick-Odds-Prediction - 2/18/14
Slovenia (1-2-0) vs Austria (1-2-0)
Olympic Hockey: Tuesday, February 18, 2014 (Sochi, Russia)
Slovenia -1.5 See the Latest Odds
The surprise Slovenians look to keep their Olympic dreams intact as they take on Austria in a qualification round game with a spot in the quarterfinals on the line.
Slovenia came into this tournament as international hockey newcomers but thanks to a special effort in qualification without their only NHL player in Anze Kopitar, Slovenia earned their way to Sochi and have surprised many in the process. Slovenia opened up the tournament with a hard fought loss against Russia and shocked the world a day later as they upended Slovakia by a 3-1 mark before dropping a 5-1 decision to the Americans in their round robin finale. Kopitar has been brilliant in his first Olympics and will likely carry that success back to Los Angeles as his Kings get set for a playoff push but certainly his focus will be on this contest as they try to continue their improbable Olympic run. Slovenia is favoured for the first time in this tournament by a two goal margin against an Austrian team who is coming off a 3-1 victory over Norway.
Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Spor
Austria arrived in Sochi with limited expectations and through their first two games of the tournament they were waxed by Finland and Canada but validated their presence with a 3-1 victory over the pesky Norwegians. Austria has two NHL talents in the form of Thomas Vanek and Michael Grabner with the latter lighting up the scoresheet in his first Olympics yet the Austrians are underdogs coming into their qualification matchup with Slovenia. Austria had just as difficult a group as Slovenia did with perhaps the only difference being the Slovaks being more competitive than Norway but with the way the former has played this tournament it is very tough to compare. While it is all but certain that whoever wins this game will play their last contest in the quarterfinals but it would be an achievement for either country to get that far and I think we see a tight contest here. Austria played well in their last game against Norway but gave up eight to Finland and six to Canada whereas Slovenia was competitive in their first two then was crushed by the US. In a game that could go either way I think playing the spread here is our best option and as such I think Austria keeps it within two goals.