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.


Sunday Feb 16th, 3:00 AM EST


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.


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.


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.


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.