Sign in with your NHL account:
  • Submit
  • Or
  • Sign in with Google
 

Vatanen Earns Three Assists in Finland's 8-4 Victory over Austria

Thursday, 02.13.2014 / 4:00 AM / News
X
Share with your Friends


Vatanen Earns Three Assists in Finland\'s 8-4 Victory over Austria
SOCHI -- The depth of talent for Finland allowed a misstep to be avoided in its opening game of the 2014 Sochi Olympics.
By Shawn P. Roarke | NHL.com

SOCHI -- The depth of talent for Finland allowed a misstep to be avoided in its opening game of the 2014 Sochi Olympics.

Austria scored twice in the first 10 minutes, including a shocking goal on the first shift, before Finland rallied with goals by six players in an 8-4 victory at Bolshoy Ice Dome in a Group B preliminary-round game Thursday afternoon.

The Finns know that is no recipe for success in a tournament loaded with superpowers.

"I think we have to get back to being tighter defensively," said Finland defenseman Kimmo Timonen, who said the early start (noon local time) and the larger ice surface contributed to some of his team's sluggishness. "Hopefully we can score three or four goals a game and that should be enough against these good countries. That was [the] first game, probably not the best one Finland played, but we take it and move on."

Finland was able to overcome a hat trick by Austria forward Michael Grabner. Mikael Granlund of the Minnesota Wild and Jarkko Immonen, a late addition as an injury replacement, each scored twice for the winners.

The victory was tempered slightly by the absence of Teemu Selanne, the Finland captain. The Anaheim Ducks forward appeared to be injured in the first period and did not play during the final 40 minutes.

Finland coach Erkka Westerlund said Selanne suffered a "small upper-body injury" and should be available Friday against Norway.

Grabner of the New York Islanders, one of three NHL players on the Austrian roster, shocked the Finns when he rifled a one-timer past goalie Tuukka Rask, of the Boston Bruins, 36 seconds into the game. The speedy wing would add two third-period goals to complete the first hat trick of this tournament.

"It's always nice and fun to score goals, but at the same time you want to win games," Grabner said. "Unfortunately, today we gave them too many chances and they capitalized on most of them."

A little less than five minutes after Grabner's first goal, Granlund tied the game 1-1. Austria's Thomas Hundertpfund then gave his team a second unexpected lead, with goals on two of its first three shots.

Hundertpfund's goal served as a wake-up call for the Finns.

"We weren't ready; they got the goal and even battled back a couple of times there," said Rask, who finished with 14 saves. "It's not a good start, but a good thing that we never let our guard down, we just kept going."

The defensive breakdowns prevalent on the first two goals were temporarily eradicated (they returned in the third period) and the offense found its stride, scoring two goals in eight seconds in the final minute of the first period.

First, Olli Maatta, the precocious defenseman from the Pittsburgh Penguins, fired a low slap shot through traffic to beat Austrian goalie Bernhard Starkbaum for a 3-2 lead at 19:25. The goal was redemption for Maatta, who was one the ice for each of Austria's first two goals and had Hundertpfund's bounce off his skate past Rask.

Immonen then scored by pouncing on a rebound and shoveling it home with 27 seconds remaining for a 4-2 lead.

"The last two goals in the last minute, they hurt a lot," Grabner said. "To end the period 2-2, it's a lot better feeling than 4-2. It's always tough because now you have to play some comeback hockey. When you get scored on in the last minute, it gets the morale of the team down a little bit and then you have to work it back up. But it is tough against a team like that that is so skilled and so fast."

Sami Lepisto scored Finland's other goal in the first period. Finland, expected to battle Canada for first place in Group B, added to its lead with two goals in the second.

Petri Kontiola, moved up after the departure of Selanne, figured in both. His pass set up Jussi Jokinen's rebound goal, and 27 seconds later Kontiola pounced on a rebound of a Granlund shot and banked it off Starkbaum for Finland's sixth goal.

Selanne played eight shifts in the first period, totaling 5:27. He had an assist on the first goal by Granlund, registered a shot and was plus-1. During the first period, Finnish trainers were working on Selanne's neck area while he sat on the bench.

Starkbaum made 44 saves in a performance which was, at times, brilliant.

"He is not the reason we lost this game," said Austrian coach Manny Viveiros said, who blamed his team's indecisiveness for the unflattering scoreline.

Austria plays Canada, the group favorite, Friday.

SCHEDULE

HOME
AWAY
PROMOTIONAL

STANDINGS

WESTERN CONFERENCE
  TEAM GP W L OT GF GA PTS
1 z - ANA 82 54 20 8 266 209 116
2 y - COL 82 52 22 8 250 220 112
3 x - STL 82 52 23 7 248 191 111
4 x - SJS 82 51 22 9 249 200 111
5 x - CHI 82 46 21 15 267 220 107
6 x - LAK 82 46 28 8 206 174 100
7 x - MIN 82 43 27 12 207 206 98
8 x - DAL 82 40 31 11 235 228 91
9 PHX 82 37 30 15 216 231 89
10 NSH 82 38 32 12 216 242 88
11 WPG 82 37 35 10 227 237 84
12 VAN 82 36 35 11 196 223 83
13 CGY 82 35 40 7 209 241 77
14 EDM 82 29 44 9 203 270 67

STATS

2013-2014 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
R. Getzlaf 77 31 56 28 87
C. Perry 81 43 39 32 82
N. Bonino 77 22 27 14 49
M. Perreault 69 18 25 13 43
A. Cogliano 82 21 21 13 42
C. Fowler 70 6 30 15 36
K. Palmieri 71 14 17 9 31
D. Winnik 76 6 24 6 30
H. Lindholm 78 6 24 29 30
S. Koivu 65 11 18 3 29
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
F. Andersen 20 5 0 .923 2.29
J. Hiller 29 13 7 .911 2.48
 

AnaheimDucks.com is the official Web site of the Anaheim Ducks. Anaheim Ducks and AnaheimDucks.com are trademarks of Anaheim Ducks Hockey Club, LLC. NHL, the NHL Shield, the word mark and image of the Stanley Cup and NHL Conference logos are registered trademarks of the National Hockey League. All NHL logos and marks and NHL team logos and marks as well as all other proprietary materials depicted herein are the property of the NHL and the respective NHL teams and may not be reproduced without the prior written consent of NHL Enterprises, L.P. Copyright © 1999-2013 Anaheim Ducks Hockey Club, LLC and the National Hockey League. All Rights Reserved.

Privacy Policy     Contact Us    Jobs     Honda Center    Corporate Partnerships   Terms of Use   Site Map AdChoices