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Austria
Slovenia

30 SOG
33 SOG
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SLO
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Golden opportunity at stake as Slovenia faces Austria

Wednesday, 08.06.2014 / 4:52 AM

Brian Hunter - NHL.com Staff Writer

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Golden opportunity at stake as Slovenia faces Austria
Austria vs. Slovenia

AUSTRIA vs. SLOVENIA

When: Tuesday, 3 a.m. ET (NBCSN, SNET)

Where: Bolshoy Ice Dome

What's at stake: Neither country was expected to compete for a medal at the 2014 Sochi Olympics, but at the end of Tuesday either Slovenia or Austria will have advanced to within one upset victory of a guaranteed chance at one.

Austria: There are dozens of NHL stars in Sochi who are probably better known than New York Islanders forward Michael Grabner, but after three games in group play there's no one with more goals. Grabner recorded a hat trick in Austria's loss to Finland to open the tournament, and after a shutout defeat to Canada he came back with two more goals to spark a critical 3-1 win against Norway on Sunday. That boosted Austria into the ninth seed in the tournament. Grabner's five goals are one more than Phil Kessel of the United States and Drew Doughty of Canada.

"It's nice to score goals, but I can't do it without my linemates," Grabner, who also set up a goal by the Philadelphia Flyers' Michael Raffl, told the IIHF website. "They're doing a great job of finding me. I'm just trying to get open. Our line has been creating a lot of offense."

Grabner's teammate with the Islanders, Thomas Vanek, was his other linemate against Norway. Mathias Lange started and made 34 saves after Bernhard Starkbaum was pulled after two periods in the Canada game.

Slovenia: The inaugural Olympic journey for Slovenia has already been an unquestionable success, but that doesn't mean Matjaz Kopitar's team is patting itself on the backs and resting on its laurels. Slovenia, which upset Slovakia in Group A play and played competently in losses to Russia and the United States, has a golden opportunity to advance into the quarterfinals and make itself the Cinderella story of the tournament.

Defenseman Sabahudin Kovacevic will be eligible to return after serving a one-game suspension against the U.S. for an elbowing infraction against Florida Panthers forward Tomas Kopecky in the Slovakia game. The greater question, though, is the status of Los Angeles Kings forward Anze Kopitar, the son of Matjaz and the lone NHL player on the roster. He left in the second period Sunday due to a stomach ailment. Kopitar, who scored the third goal in the win against Slovakia, brings a presence to the team that would be near impossible to replace.

"We'll see," Matjaz Kopitar told ESPN.com Sunday of his son's status. "They're going to go with the doctors now to the hospital and they're going to check his blood to see what is going on. Hopefully he's going to be ready for Game 4 which is very important for us. If we want to continue in the tournament we need to win that one. We need every single player because we don't have depth."

What's next: The winner of this game won't have much time for celebration before it has to face the top seed in the tournament, Group C winner Sweden, in a quarterfinal Wednesday.

Austria
# Forwards Club HT WT DOB Birthplace
40 M. Grabner NYI 6'0" 186 10/5/1987 Villach, AUT
89 R. Herburger 5'10" 165 1/2/1989 Dornbirn, AUT
27 T. Hundertpfund 6'2" 187 12/14/1989 Klagenfurt, AUT
25 M. Iberer 6'2" 201 4/29/1985 Graz, AUT
18 T. Koch 5'8" 174 8/17/1983 Klagenfurt, AUT
15 M. Latusa 5'11" 194 1/23/1984 Wien, AUT
77 B. Lebler 6'3" 212 7/16/1988 Klagenfurt, AUT
14 A. Nodl 6'2" 198 2/28/1987 Vienna, AUT
10 D. Oberkofler 6'0" 163 7/16/1988 Graz, AUT
12 M. Raffl PHI 6'0" 195 12/1/1988 Villach, AUT
5 T. Raffl 6'4" 205 6/19/1986 Villach, AUT
91 O. Setzinger 6'0" 196 7/11/1983 Horn, AUT
26 T. Vanek NYI 6'0" 217 1/19/1984 Vienna, AUT
20 D. Welser 5'11" 187 2/16/1983 Klagenfurt, AUT
# Defense Club HT WT DOB Birthplace
41 M. Altmann 6'4" 207 11/4/1986 Wien, AUT
48 F. Iberer 6'1" 198 12/7/1982 Graz, AUT
64 A. Lakos 6'8" 236 7/29/1979 Wien, AUT
55 R. Lukas 5'10" 185 8/29/1978 Wien, AUT
22 T. Pöck 6'1" 205 12/2/1981 Klagenfurt, AUT
51 M. Trattnig 6'1" 212 4/22/1979 Graz, AUT
7 S. Ulmer 5'10" 165 12/1/1990 Dornbirn, AUT
4 G. Unterluggauer 5'10" 194 8/15/1976 Villach, AUT
# Goalies Club HT WT DOB Birthplace
24 M. Lange 5'10" 181 4/13/1985 Klagenfurt, AUT
29 B. Starkbaum 6'1" 196 2/19/1986 Wien, AUT
30 R. Swette 6'0" 174 8/21/1988 Lustenau, AUT
Slovenia
# Forwards Club HT WT DOB Birthplace
71 B. Golicic 6'0" 194 6/12/1989 Kranj, SLO
8 Z. Jeglic 6'1" 176 2/24/1988 Kranj, SLO
11 A. Kopitar LAK 6'3" 224 8/24/1987 Jesenice, SLO
92 A. Kuralt 5'9" 176 10/31/1991 Kranj, SLO
39 J. Mursak 5'11" 187 1/20/1988 Maribor, SLO
16 A. Music 5'9" 181 6/28/1982 Ljubljana, SLO
19 Z. Pance 6'1" 196 1/1/1989 Ljubljana, SLO
9 T. Razingar 6'1" 216 4/25/1979 Jesenice, SLO
12 D. Rodman 6'1" 183 9/10/1983 Jesenice, SLO
22 M. Rodman 6'1" 187 9/25/1981 Jesenice, SLO
55 R. Sabolic 6'0" 198 9/18/1988 Jesenice, SLO
24 R. Ticar 5'11" 181 5/3/1989 Jesenice, SLO
26 J. Urbas 6'3" 216 1/26/1989 Ljubljana, SLO
91 M. Verlic 6'4" 190 8/21/1991 Maribor, SLO
# Defense Club HT WT DOB Birthplace
15 B. Gregorc 6'3" 209 1/18/1990 Jesenice, SLO
86 S. Kovacevic 6'3" 209 2/26/1986 Jesenice, SLO
28 A. Kranjc 6'0" 201 7/29/1981 Jesenice, SLO
17 Z. Pavlin 6'4" 214 4/30/1985 Kranj, SLO
14 M. Podlipnik 5'11" 181 8/9/1992 Jesenice, SLO
7 K. Pretnar 5'11" 181 8/31/1986 Bled, SLO
51 M. Robar 5'10" 190 1/4/1983 Maribor, SLO
4 A. Tavzelj 6'2" 209 3/14/1984 Jesenice, SLO
# Goalies Club HT WT DOB Birthplace
40 L. Gracnar 5'10" 187 10/31/1993 Jesenice, SLO
1 A. Hocevar 6'0" 183 11/21/1984 Ljubljana, SLO
33 R. Kristan 6'0" 187 4/4/1983 Jesenice, SLO