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Roundup: Jonas Hiller backstops Swiss in shutout

Jonas Hiller made 26 saves in his second Olympic shutout, Simon Bodenmann scored in the first period, and Switzerland beat the Czech Republic, 1-0, Saturday in the teams’ final preliminary-round game.

Hiller, the starting goalie for the NHL-leading Anaheim Ducks, still hasn’t allowed a goal in Sochi, stopping all 47 shots he has faced over two games.

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His brilliance and his teammates’ defense allowed Switzerland to win two of its three games despite scoring just two goals in the entire preliminary round.

‘‘Everybody is doing an unbelievable job in our own end,’’ Hiller said. ‘‘Sacrificing, blocking shots, blocking guys out, clearing rebounds. It makes life easier as a goalie. Same time, I really hope at some point we find a way to score more than just one goal a game, so that takes off a little pressure off the goalies, but we take the win and we’re very excited about it.’’

The Swiss barely survived an inspired third period by the Czechs, who finished the preliminary round 1-2 on Jaromir Jagr’s 42d birthday. Jagr couldn’t beat Hiller after scoring in each of the Czechs’ first two games of his fifth Olympics.

Ondrej Pavelec stopped 25 shots for the Czechs, who should be a dangerous team in the upcoming elimination games despite their losses.

‘‘Both teams had their chances, but I think we had a little bit more,’’ Pavelec said. ‘‘Their goalie played really well, and we hit the post twice. I think they have a good defensive system and it is tough to play against them when they score a goal [early].’’

Jagr had another active game, and Pavelec was sharp in his second straight start.

The Swiss were a popular dark-horse pick heading into Sochi with their silver medals at last year’s world championships and their balanced, cohesive roster backstopped by the dependable Hiller. But they managed just one goal in their first two games, beating Latvia, 1-0, on a last-minute score before getting shut out, 1-0, by Sweden with Reto Berra in net.

The Czechs and Swiss both lost to the Swedes.

The Czechs peppered Hiller with chances early, and Milan Michalek missed a goal by inches when his one-timer hit Hiller’s left post.

Slovenia 3, Slovakia 1 — Slovenia is not satisfied with just showing up to play hockey at the Olympics for the first time. Its players want to win.

They made that very clear.

Anze Kopitar scored the third of three goals in a six-minute stretch of the third period for Slovenia’s surprising victory over usually steady Slovakia.

‘‘Everybody thought we were going to just have fun here, but the boys really responded well,’’ said Matjaz Kopitar, who is the Slovenian coach and Anze’s father. ‘‘They want to be a competitive team, and we were rewarded.’’

Slovenia (1-1) earned a spot in Sochi by beating Belarus, Ukraine and Denmark in last year’s qualification tourney.

It was quite a feat for a hockey team ranked 17th in the world from a nation with fewer than 2 million people, seven hockey rinks, and only one professional team.

‘‘This is going to stick with Slovenia for a long time,’’ said Kopitar.

If the Slovaks (0-2) don’t start playing better, they won’t be sticking around in the tournament much longer.

Slovakia, with 12 NHL players including Blues goaltender Jaroslav Halak and Blackhawks star Marian Hossa, finished fourth and fifth at the last two Olympics.

The Slovaks lost to a team with only one NHL player, Kopitar of the Kings.

‘‘It’s hard to lose a game like this,’’ Hossa acknowledged.

The Slovaks were routed by the US in their opener and face Russia on Sunday — perhaps without a key player. Tomas Kopecky left after getting hit in the head in the first period.

The two-time Olympian and Panthers forward was standing near the net when Slovenia’s Sabahudin Kovacevic landed an elbow on Kopecky’s head to clear him out of the way.

The hit is scheduled to be reviewed Sunday for possible discipline.

Slovakia’s coach, Vladimir Vujtek, said he didn’t know yet if Kopecky would play against the Russians.

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