BostonBruins.com - Loui Eriksson became the first Bruin in Sochi to advance to the semifinals, as Sweden shut out Slovenia, 5-0, on Wednesday in the opening quarterfinal game.
The Bruin notched a goal and an assist for his first two points of the tournament in the win.
Consistently relied on as a top-two forward for Sweden at the Olympics, Eriksson led forwards on his squad with 17:44 in ice time, playing in all situations. He finished the game with a plus-2 rating.
Sweden earned a 1-0 lead in the first period with their fifth straight power-play goal, but game remained very tight checking, and was mostly played along the boards. Though Slovenia was playing its third game in four days, the "Cinderella" team that picked up its first-ever Olympic win in Sochi, didn't give up. It stayed a one-goal game entering the third period.
Just 1:42 into the third period, after good cycling, Eriksson fed Team Sweden linemate Daniel Sedin with a beauty of a pass from the goal line to the bottom of the left circle, which he buried for the 2-0 cushion.
About six minutes later, Eriksson found himself with space above the right circle after a turnover. Nicklas Backstrom sent a nice pass to the winger, who ripped it top shelf over the left shoulder of goalie Robert Kristan.
Sweden took a breath with the three-goal lead, and began to build momentum for an eventual four-goal third period that Slovenia would never be able to counter. Carl Hagelin added two goals after Eriksson's snipe and Henrik Lundqvist made 19 stops for the 5-0 win.
While Eriksson found his scoring touch in this game, he's been creating chances, posting himself in front of the net for tips and battling hard along the boards. He's looked more confident each game.
Sweden faced Czech Republic, Switzlerland, Latvia and Slovenia en route to the semifinals, and will have face their toughest opponent yet when the semis take place on Friday, February 21.