Slovenia, Germany and Norway finished first in their respective four-team qualifying groups and sewed up the last three spots in the men’s 2018 Olympics hockey tournament that will be held in Pyeongchang, South Korea. Those three nations join the host country, Canada, the Czech Republic, Finland, Russia, Sweden, Switzerland, Slovakia, and the United States.
Slovenia won Group D with a 3-2 shootout win over Belarus, who were hosting the group in Minsk and finished second. Rok Ticar scored both Slovenian goals in regulation time and bagged the decider in the shootout. Los Angeles Kings center Anze Kopitar had an assist and scored in the shootout. Denmark (1-2) came in third and Poland (0-3) finished in fourth place.
Germany edged the host Latvians (2-1) in Riga by a 3-2 count to win Group E with a perfect 3-0 record. Edmonton’s Leon Draisaitl scored a goal and drew an assist on Tom Kuhnhackl’s winner. Austria (1-2) finished in third place with Japan (0-3) bringing up the rear.
Host Norway slipped by France 2-1 in Olso to win Group F. Mats Zuccarello and Mattias Norstebo scored the goals for Norway. The French team finished in second place over Kazakhstan on goal differential. Italy earned one point in three games to finish last in the group.
Norway and Germany will join Finland and Sweden and Group C. Slovenia was placed in Group B with Russia, Slovakia and the United States. Group A will consist of Canada, the Czech Republic, Switzerland and South Korea.