GANGNEUNG, South Korea, Feb 18 (Reuters) - Canada's men's ice hockey team beat South Korea 4-0 on Sunday to secure a bye into the quarter-finals of the Olympic tournament.
Canada went out on top early in the first period with a goal by Christian Thomas but the Koreans, playing before another packed house of cheering, hometown fans, were far more ready to play than in their clubbing by the Swiss a day earlier, and Canada found it hard to get their offense in gear after that.
They finally tallied again late in the second period as Eric O'Dell punched in a puck past Korean goaltender Matt Dalton that came off the rear boards on to his stick by the right post.
Maxim LaPierre made it a 3-0 margin for the Canadians in the third period and Gilbert Brule rounded it out with a late powerplay goal.
With the win, Canada finished second in Group A behind the Czech Republic but, with seven points, they are the highest-ranking second-place team, earning them a bye into the quarter-finals.
For Olympic hosts South Korea, it means they go into the knock-out round winless and with the tournament's lowest ranking. They must face Finland in a playoff on Tuesday for the right to advance.
"We will have to prepare for that and see how it goes," South Korean coach Jim Paek said. "We're excited to play that."
The Finns lost 3-1 to Sweden in a game played at the same time as the Canada-Korea match. (Writing By Dan Burns; Editing by Clare Fallon)