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By Max Winters – Inside The Games

Italy made it two wins out of two in Group H of the Pyeongchang 2018 women’s ice hockey Olympic qualifying preliminary round two tournament in the Spanish city of San Sebastián today.

On the opening day of action at the Palacio del Hielo Txuri Urdin yesterday, Italy defeated Spain 2-0 and further strengthened their qualification hopes with a second win today.

Slovenia were their victims as they were well beaten 8-1.

Michelle Masperi opened the scoring after three minutes before a strike from Federica Zandegiacomo Mistrotofolo doubled the Italians’ advantage.

Pia Pren pulled one back for the Slovenians but that would be their only moment of promise for the rest of the encounter.

Linda de Rocco made it 3-1 to Italy in the second period before the floodgates opened in the final third.

Italy sealed the victory through two goals from Chelsea Furlani and solo strikes by Eleonora Dalpra, Nadia Mattivi and Silvia Carignano completed the rout.

In the second match of today, Spain suffered their second defeat in two days after they were beaten by The Netherlands 2-0.

The Dutch team got their Group H campaign off to a flying start yesterday as they thrashed a hapless Slovenian side 14-1 and they made it two out of two this evening.

It means The Netherlands will meet Italy for the chance to win the group and progress to the next stage of Olympic qualifying. 

Julie Zwarthoed opened the scoring late in the first period before Anne Hardenbol added the second to secure the win.

Group G, which is currently taking place in Astana in Kazakhstan, saw no action today but will continue tomorrow.

Mexico take on Poland and Britain face Kazakhstan in the final round of matches.

Winners of both groups will progress to preliminary round three, the penultimate qualifying round.

Two final groups to decide Pyeongchang places will then be held in February.