Britain improve Olympic chances

Great Britain 5 Slovenia 0
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Great Britain moved closer to qualification for the 1998 Winter Olympics at the Sheffield Arena last night thanks to some sloppy Slovenian net- minding.

Britain, who have not reached the Olympics since 1948, gained the early goal they wanted in the fourth minute, when Nottingham Panthers' Paul Adey netted after slick approach play.

Luka Simsic, the visitors' goal-tender, was clear of blame for the opening goal - but the same cannot be said of the next two. Nicky Chinn, the Sheffield Steeler, delighted the home fans with a goal after less than a minute on a power play after Simsic has failed to clear, and towards the end of the first session Merv Priest, of Basingstoke Bison, capitalised on another blunder to make it 3-0.

When Sheffield's Tommy Plommer scored twice to give Britain a 5-0 lead just past the midway mark, Simsic was replaced by Ales Petronijevic. He looked much steadier, but Britain were in total control, leaving Slovenia ruing the inability to cash in on the man advantage on seven occasions.

Next month Britain play two games in a week, including a vital match against Switzerland, which will decide if they are to make February's final qualifier for the Olympics.