Finland thrashed Austria 8-4 in their men's hockey preliminary match on Day 6 of the 2014 Winter Olympic Games. The Shayba Arena was treated to a powerful performance from the victors, who open their Sochi account with a huge win.
Let's take a look at the action.
Despite their heavy defeat, the Austrians started strongly. Michael Grabner opened the scoring after an assist from Michael Raffl with just 36 seconds on the clock. While Finland took five minutes to respond, the retaliation signalled they were gaining momentum.
This came as Mikael Granlund capitalised on an assist from Teemu Selanne after five minutes and 15 seconds. Just 11 seconds later, Austria's Matthias Trattnig was given a two-minute penalty for boarding.
It was Austria who took the initiative again, as Thomas Hundertpfund slotted one home from Thomas Vanek's pass. Unfortunately for those in red and white, Finland shot into life to quickly put the game to bed.
Sami Lepisto equalised two minutes later, assisted by Joki Jokinen. Despite Aleksander Barkov's penalty for using a high stick, Olli Maatta thrust Finland into the lead after Olli Jokinen's setup.
Eight seconds later, the scoreline increased as Jarkko Immonen capitalised on possession provided by Jori Lehtera, as noted by Crosstown:
Heading into the second period, Jussi Jokinen extended the deficit before the Austrians could get up to speed. Further chances followed for the side who threatened rampancy, but Austria increased their urgency and improved as the halfway mark approached.
The noise continued to rise as support gathered for both teams. Michelle Karvinen, fresh from Finland women's win over Switzerland, was in attendance to support her male compatriots:
Karvinen would let out a joyous scream after her nation notched again. Granlund once again provided his team with an easy opportunity and watched on as Petri Kontiola extended the gap to 6-2.
Grabner pulled one back for Austria early in the third period, but a number of penalties suddenly hampered play. Lauri Korpikoski of Finland and Daniel Welser of Austria were given two minutes to cool down before Andre Lakos joined his Eagles teammate on the bench.
Brian Lebler became the third Austrian in succession to receive a penalty, before Immonen netted during the power play to cement the result. Grabner pulled one back, but Raffl soon added to his team's disadvantage through a hooking penalty.
Granlund added one final score from the power play, rounding off an excellent performance from the player and his team.
This result is an excellent way to begin a tough campaign for the Finnish. Matches against Canada and Norway are on the horizon, so it's important to head into the next fixture with a win.
Austria were unorganised and appeared to lack confidence at times, but Finland shouldn't expect the same from a powerful Canadian team.
Despite a smart individual performance from Grabner, Austria's frailty came through a defence that just couldn't keep up with the movement of Finland's attack.
They are more than capable of providing their upcoming opponents with a stern test—and won't shy away from scoring—but the opening loss leaves their hopes of advancing in a difficult position.
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