Sochi Scene -- Hockey Eliminations; DeFrantz on "Remarkable" Mountain Cluster

(ATR) Sweden punches first ticket to men's ice hockey semifinals ... U.S. IOC member applauds Sochi 2014.

SOCHI, RUSSIA - FEBRUARY 19: Daniel Sedin #22 of Sweden and Ales Kranjc #28 of Slovenia shake hands after the Men's Ice Hockey Quarterfinal Playoff on Day 12 of the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics at Bolshoy Ice Dome on February 19, 2014 in Sochi, Russia.  Sweden defeated Slovenia 5-0. (Photo by Martin Rose/Getty Images)
SOCHI, RUSSIA - FEBRUARY 19: Daniel Sedin #22 of Sweden and Ales Kranjc #28 of Slovenia shake hands after the Men's Ice Hockey Quarterfinal Playoff on Day 12 of the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics at Bolshoy Ice Dome on February 19, 2014 in Sochi, Russia. Sweden defeated Slovenia 5-0. (Photo by Martin Rose/Getty Images)

Men’s ice hockey enters its quarterfinals elimination phase today.

In the early contest at the Bolshoy Ice Dome, top-seeded Sweden eliminated Slovenia in a 5-0 shutout to remain undefeated at 4-0.

Sweden, the 2013 IIHF world champions, will face the winner of Russia (2-1) and Finland (2-1), which is currently underway at Bolshoy.

The tournament hosts are seeking to raise their level of play after a mediocre qualification round where they managed a 2-1 record while losing to the U.S. in a thrilling shootout last Saturday. Russia proceeded to beat Norway 4-0 in the qualification playoff yesterday to advance.

In the night games, the defending Olympic champions Canada (3-0) play Latvian who, after failing to win a game in the qualification round, upset Switzerland 3-1 in their qualification playoff. Opening faceoff is 9 p.m Sochi time at Bolshoy.

"The urgency is obviously more, the desperation is more when there is a ‘win or go home’ situation, just like the [NHL] playoffs," said Canadian center Ryan Getzlaf about the elimination quarterfinals.

In the other evening match, at the adjacent Shayba Arena, the undefeated United States squad (3-0) squares off against five-time Olympian Jaromir Jagr and the Czech Republic (1-2). Puck drops at 9 p.m.

The winners of U.S./Czech Republic and Canada/Norway will meet in one semifinal Friday, while Sweden will play either Russia or Finland.

DeFrantz Applauds Mountain Cluster

IOC executive board member Anita DeFrantz tells ATR that it is "remarkable all the work that’s been done on this hill" for the venues in the Mountain Cluster.

DeFrantz visited her final Sochi 2014 venue, the Laura Cross Country Ski and Biathlon Center, before fog set in on Sunday.

She even braved one of the cable car lines to make the trip.

"I’m scared of them," DeFrantz admitted, then added, "It’s amazing how many they have. It makes it much easier. It’s much more efficient to get people up on the mountain on a cable car than to have buses and cars coming up."

She says the cableway and other improvements provide a lasting legacy.

"People say, ‘Why would you spend $50 billion on something for two weeks?’ Well, it’s not for two weeks. It’s for 200 years. This is going to be the place for a long time to come. It will serve lots and lots of people over time. So it’s a huge and excellent investment."

Written by Brian Pinelli and Karen Rosen

Homepage photo: Getty Images

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