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Latvia, Austria qualify for 2014 Winter Olympics

Sunday, 02.10.2013 / 1:51 PM / News

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Latvia, Austria qualify for 2014 Winter Olympics
Latvia and Austria were each defeated in overtime Sunday in their Olympic qualification games, but the points they gained were enough to punch their tickets to the 2014 Winter Games in Sochi, Russia.

They were losses that ultimately still counted as wins.

Latvia and Austria were each defeated in overtime Sunday in their Olympic qualification games, but the points they gained were enough to punch their tickets to the 2014 Winter Games in Sochi, Russia.

France 3, Latvia 2 (OT)

Martins Karsums scored early in the third period to draw Latvia even and send the crowd at Arena Riga into a frenzy. France eventually gained the victory on a goal by Pierre-Édouard Bellemare.

Karsums, who scored one goal in 24 career NHL games for the Boston Bruins and Tampa Bay Lightning, capitalized on the rebound of a Lauris Darzins shot.

"Both teams played well and it could have went either way," Latvia head coach Ted Nolan, who coached both the Buffalo Sabres and New York Islanders, told the International Ice Hockey Federation's website. "On a personal note I'm really proud of the leadership and the maturity of some of our players that played in this game. In a tournament like this it's not like a seven-game series, it's a one-shot deal and you either win or go home, and I'm extremely happy with the way the players responded to the pressure."

France, attempting to reach its first Olympics since 2002, needed a two-goal win or a one-goal win with at least four goals scored to earn a berth. They got an early power-play goal by Damien Fleury and a one-timer by captain Laurent Meunier for an early 2-0 lead that didn't hold.

Darzins halved the lead by beating former NHL netminder Cristobal Huet with 5:01 left in the second period, then started the play that resulted in Karsums' goal just 12 seconds into the third.

Germany 3, Austria 2 (OT)

Markus Peintner's game-tying goal with 7:38 left in the third period was enough to give Austria its first Olympic berth since 2002. They were outshot 38-19 by Germany, which got a power-play goal from Patrick Reimer for the win, but failed to qualify for the first time in 17 Olympics.

"Right now I'm just speechless," Peintner told the IIHF website. "We worked so hard for that. We were the underdog. We knew Germany has a really good team, but we stuck to our plan. At the end we were a little bit lucky, but now we are just happy."

Bernhard Starkbaum was stellar in goal for Austria, though Germany got on the board first on a power-play goal late in the opening period. Defenseman Constantin Braun ripped a shot from just inside the blue line that was deflected by Benedikt Kohl with 1:19 left in the period.

Austria's tying goal in the second came when defenseman Andre Lakos shot the puck from along the right boards and into the net, but a string of penalties led to Germany regaining the lead 6:54 into the third period on another power-play goal, this time by Michael Wolf.

Slovenia 6, Ukraine 1

Robert Sabolic scored a pair of early goals as Slovenia, which had already qualified on Friday, raced to a 3-0 lead in the first five minutes of the game and was never challenged.

David Rodman, Rok Ticar, Jan Urbas and Ziga Jeglic also tallied for Slovenia, while Artem Gnidenko had Ukraine's lone goal in the third period.

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