Canada was considered one of the favorites heading into the men's hockey tournament in Sochi. They have high-profile players, all-around skill, and are the defending gold medalists. They were expected to manhandle Norway in their first game on Thursday, however that wasn't the case.
Canada started off slow in the first period and didn't get any offense going. They outshot Norway 9-8 in the period, but neither team could find the back of the net.
Canada would finally get on the board in the second period thanks to a powerful blast from the point courtesy of Shea Weber. Later in the period, Jamie Benn would add to Canada's lead as he converted on a beautiful cross-ice pass from Patrice Bergeron. Canada outshot Norway 14-2 in the second period and started to show their dominance. They led 2-0 after two periods.
Norway started the third period on the power play and they would not miss their chance to get back in the game. Just 22 seconds into the third, Patrick Thoresen found the back of the net to trim Canada's lead to 2-1. Norway looked as if they might give Canada a scare, but just over a minute later, defenseman Drew Doughty dangled his way through the Norwegian players and backhanded a shot past goaltender Lars Haugen to give Canada a 3-1 lead. Both teams would exchange chances the rest of the period, but no more goals were scored. Canada would hold on for the 3-1 victory.
06:20 CAN GOAL: Shea Weber (1) assisted by Duncan Keith and Patrice Bergergon
00:22 NOR GOAL-PPG: Patrick Thoresen (1) assisted by Mathis Olimb
01:47 CAN GOAL: Drew Doughty (1) assisted by Ryan Getzlaf and Patrick Marleau
Here are some notes from the game:
- Goaltender Carey Price stopped 19 of the 20 shots he faced for Canada as he picked up the win. Roberto Luongo is expected to start tomorrow against Austria.
- Norway goaltender Lars Haugen stopped 35 of the 38 shots he faced.
- Norway forward Mats Zuccarello of the New York Rangers recorded one shot on goal.
It is only the first game of the tournament and although Norway is not a threat to win a medal, they are an experienced team who has played together for a very long time. Canada is still trying to develop chemistry in the early stages of this tournament and luckily for them they have another chance tomorrow against Austria. They will have a big test on Sunday against Finland, so hopefully they will be familiar with each other by then.
Canada, nor its fans, should worry about today's performance. No, they didn't dominate Norway for three periods, but they showed flashes of what they can do and that's all you can really expect at this point. It is possible they played down to their competition, thinking that they didn't need to perform as well. They probably used this game as a chance to get to know each other's tendencies so it can help them as they make another run at a gold medal.
Of course they can't afford to have this type of performance against a team like Finland, Sweden, Russia or the United States, so they will have to be at their best when that time comes. For now, just enjoy the fact that Canada opened the tournament with a win and let's focus on beating Austria tomorrow afternoon.
NEXT GAME: Friday, February 14 vs. Austria. 12 pm. ET/11 pm. CT
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