GANGNEUNG, South Korea, Feb 18 (Reuters) - The Czech Republic scored three third-period goals to beat Switzerland on Sunday and win their group in the preliminary round of the men's Olympic ice hockey tournament, earning a spot in the quarter-finals.
Forward Michal Repik scored twice, including an empty netter inside the last minute of the game, and goalkeeper Pavel Francouz stopped 28 shots. Dominik Kubalik and Roman Cervenka each scored for the Czechs.
"It is the toughest game of the Olympics," Kubalik said of the coming quarter-finals round. "But we are very happy we have a day off and that is huge. We can relax and be ready for the quarters."
Thomas Rufenacht scored for the Swiss.
The win gave the Czechs the top seeding coming out of Group A with eight points. Canada, who play South Korea later on Sunday, are currently second but with only four points cannot overtake the Czechs.
The winners of each of the three groups in the men's tournament are awarded a bye directly to the quarter-finals. A fourth bye is awarded to the best second-place team among the three groups.
The remaining eight teams play in a qualifying playoff on Tuesday for the right to advance to the quarter-finals. Final group-stage rankings will be determined later on Sunday. (Editing by Clare Fallon)