Olympic Hockey Preview: Austria vs Norway

A pair of winless teams square off to try and get some momentum heading into the qualifying round and avoid going winless for the Olympics.

 

AUSTRIA vs NORWAY

Sunday Feb 16th, 3:00 AM EST

TV:  TSN2

 

Here is how the teams match up:

 

GOALTENDING:  Both teams have given up a lot of goals in the first two games.  Austrian netminder Bernard Starkbaum was called out by his own teammate Thomas Vanek following the 8-4 loss to Finland, and they have allowed 14 goals in 2 games.  Norway goalie Lars Haugen was pretty solid against Canada and offers them their best chance to win.

EDGE:  NORWAY

Andre Lakos is a towering presence on the Austrian blue line. PHOTO CREDIT: USA Today Sports

DEFENSEOle-Kristian Tollefsen was a physical force against Canada and leads the Norwegian blue line, while big Andre Lakos and former NHL Thomas Pock carry a lot of the load for Austria.

EDGE: EVEN

 

Mats Zuccarello is the only NHLer on the Norwegian Roster PHOTO CREDIT: USA Today Sports

FORWARDS:  With  Vanek, Michael Grabner and Michael Raffl, the Austrians have the edge in terms of NHL talent.  They put up 4 goals against Tuukka Rask, so you can’t overlook them. Mats Zuccarello is the lone current NHLer on the Norwegian team that is goal challenged.

EDGE:  AUSTRIA

 

This game could come down to which goaltender has a better night.  Both have been shellshocked and pulled during these games, and whichever one can can catch lightning in a bottle might take this one.  Both were overmatched in their first two games so will see this as an opportunity to get one in the win column

 

PREDICTION:  Call it a hunch, but I see Norway coming away with this one.  Norway 3-2.

Topics: Andre Lakos, Austria, Mats Zuccarello, Norway, Olympic Hockey, Thomas Vanek

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