Winter Olympics Sochi 2014

Winter Olympics Sochi 2014

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On Golden Ponds: Underdog Slovenia Advances to Quarterfinals

By Jim Iovino
|  Tuesday, Feb 18, 2014  |  Updated 7:15 AM CDT
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Underdog Slovenia Advances to Quarterfinals

Getty Images

Robert Kristan #33 of Slovenia celebrates with teammate Anze Kopitar #11 after defeating Austria 4 to 0 in the Men's Ice Hockey Qualification Playoff game on day eleven of the Sochi 2014 Winter Olympics at Bolshoy Ice Dome on February 18, 2014 in Sochi, Russia. (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)

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The neon-green Slovenians continue to be the feel-good hockey story of the Olympics. The team that has just one NHLer on its roster shut out Austria on Tuesday, 4-0, to advance to the quarterfinal round.

While many thought Team Slovenia would be one-and-done in the elimination round, Anze Kopitar and Co. proved them wrong by beating their neighbors from Austria.

It was just Slovenia's second-ever Olympic victory. The first came in early-round action against their Slovakian rivals.

Kopitar got Slovenia on the board early in the first period against Austria, and the team never looked back.

"It feels great," Kopitar told NBC's Brian Engblom. "Going into tonight's game, we definitely felt it was doable."

Slovenia now moves on to a much more difficult task -- facing an NHL-laden Sweden squad -- in the quarterfinals on Wednesday. Two things are working in Slovenia's favor: Sweden has suffered a ton of injuries to some of its best players, and all of the pressure will be on the Swedes to advance. No one expected Slovenia to be here, so anything from this point on is just a bonus.

Kopitar said the team felt the same way before the game against Austria.

"The outside pressure was not big at all," he said. "Half the people didn't even know us."

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