SOCHI -- Both gold medal contenders had a little more difficulty than might have been expected Thursday at Bolshoy Ice Dome.
A few hours after Russia struggled to put away Slovenia, Canada defeated Norway 3-1 in its first game at the 2014 Sochi Olympics, an outcome much closer than expected. Shea Weber, Jamie Benn and Drew Doughty scored for the Canadians.
It took a little more than 26 minutes before Weber, the Nashville Predators captain, put Canada in front with a blast from the left point. After Weber’s goal the Canadians began to exert their might on the Norwegians.
Benn, the Dallas Stars captain, made it 2-0 at 15:19. Patrice Bergeron sent a pass from the right wall to Benn, who snapped a shot in off the left post while off balance. Benn had been on the receiving end of a big open-ice hit from Norway captain Ole-Kristian Tollefsen, who delivered several crunching blows.
Norway did not have a shot on goal in the first 18 minutes of the second. At one point the Norwegians were called for icing on three consecutive stoppages. They finished the period with two shots on goal, but one was effectively a dump-in and the other rolled off a player’s stick to Canada goaltender Carey Price.
Patrick Thoresen cut the lead in half 22 seconds into the third period. Price was unable to come up with the puck behind his net with Norway on the power play. Mathis Olimb snared it and Thoresen deflected his shot.
Canada did not need long to answer. Doughty split two Norwegian forwards and skated into the slot and backhanded a shot into the top left corner at 1:47 of the third.
There were some nervy times early for Canada. Norway was able to keep Canada scoreless in the first period as the Canadians failed to generate much time in the offensive zone, let alone quality scoring chances. Lars Haugen stopped all nine shots he faced for Norway in the first.
CAN 0 2 1 - 0
NOR 0 0 1 - 0
Penalties - Team NOR (too many men on the ice) 7:04, Getzlaf CAN (tripping) 17:19
1. CAN, Weber (Keith, Bergeron) 6:20
2. CAN, Benn (Bergeron, Doughty) 15:19
Penalties - Sharp CAN (hooking) 16:03, Keith CAN (holding) 19:33
3. NOR, Olimb (unassisted) 0:22
4. CAN, Doughty (Getzlaf, Marleau) 1:47
Penalties - Forsberg NOR (interference) 11:01, Kunitz CAN (slashing) 12:17, Bonsaksen NOR (roughing) 12:17, Bergeron CAN (interference) 18:21
SHOTS ON GOAL
CAN 9 14 15 - 38
NOR 8 2 10 - 20
Goaltenders (saves-shots against) - CAN: Price (W, 19-20); NOR: Haugen (L, 35-38).
Power plays (goals-chances) - CAN: 0-2; NOR: 1-4