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It certainly wasn’t the start (or the finish) fans were expecting but Team Canada came through when it mattered most, edging Norway by a 3-1 score.
When fans associate Norway with men’s hockey, few take notice. But the Norwegians were tougher than anyone anticipated in Vancouver four years ago and if Thursday was any indication, opposing teams should expect more of the same this time around.
Team Canada began their gold-medal defense against the Norwegians but got off to a slow start. After a scoreless first period, the Canadians were finally able to solve Norway.
6:20 into the second, Nashville’s Shea Weber blasted a shot past netminder Lars Haugen to put Canada out in front. Duncan Keith and Patrice Bergeron provided the assists. Then, with just under five minutes to go in the middle frame, Dallas’s Jamie Benn added to the lead with helpers from Bergeron and Los Angeles’s Drew Doughty.
But just 22 seconds into the third, Patrick Thoresen put the Norwegians on the board putting it past netminder Carey Price to make it 2-1. The momentum, however, didn’t last for long.
Just 1:25 later, Drew Doughty scored his first-career Olympic goal, regaining the two-goal Canada lead. To add some comic relief to the situation, Doughty’s marker was assisted by Ryan Getzlaf and Patrick Marleau, representing two of Los Angeles’s state rivals in Anaheim and San Jose respectively.
It certainly wasn’t a rout but a win is a win as Canada starts their tournament off on the right foot. Drew Doughty was the most productive Canadian in this one with a multi-point game.
He wasn’t as busy as his counterpart but Carey Price was good in the Canadian goal when he had to be, stopping 19 of 20 shots en route to his country’s victory.
But there’s no rest for the wicked as Canada hopes to improve on its 1-0-0 mark on Friday when they play Austria. The game starts at 9am PST (12pm EST).