Britain advances in Olympic ice hockey qualifying
NIKKO, Japan (AP) -Britain beat Japan 2-1 on Sunday to advance to the final round of Olympic ice hockey qualifying for the 2014 Sochi Games.
Craig Peacock scored a power play goal at 9:59 of the first period and Ben O'Connor doubled the lead 30 seconds later as Britain wrapped up first place in the round-robin tournament.
"We just had to make sure that we kept to our strengths,'' Britain captain Jonathan Phillips said. "We felt we were bigger and stronger, so we just had to get the puck deep and work the boards which we did well in the first period and that was the deciding factor.''
Britain, seeking its first Olympic appearance since 1948, advances to the final round of qualifying which takes place Feb. 7-10.
Britain's goaltender Stephen Murphy turned away 21 of 22 shots.
Shuhei Kuji scored early in the third period but the hosts couldn't find an equalizer despite having the man advantage for the final 1 minute, 41 seconds of the game.
Three teams can earn berths for the Sochi Olympics through qualifying to join the top nine teams from the International Ice Hockey Federation's world rankings.