By Frank Pingue
SOCHI, Russia, Feb 12 (Reuters) - Finland edged to a 4-3 overtime victory over Switzerland at the Sochi Olympics on Wednesday to enter the knockout phase of the women's ice hockey tournament.
Finnish captain Jenni Hiirikoski scored the winner when she stretched out on the ice to tap a long pass past Swiss goalie Florence Schelling, who made 30 saves in the Group A loss.
Switzerland, who were outscored 14-0 in their previous two preliminary round games, erased an early 2-0 deficit and then forced overtime when a shot from behind the net bounced in off a Finnish defenseman with under four minutes left in regulation.
The four Group A teams are given a free pass to the knockout phase due to a new format that ensures the top nations advance. The win means Finland, beaten 3-0 by favourites Canada on Monday, next play the lower of the two Group B seeds. Switzerland will face the Group B winners. (Reporting by Frank Pingue; Editing by Robert Woodward)