Grabner's 2 goals lead Austria past Norway 3-1

Published on NewsOK Modified: February 16, 2014 at 5:40 am •  Published: February 16, 2014

SOCHI, Russia (AP) — Michael Grabner's goal-scoring spree in Sochi has propelled Austria to its first Olympic hockey win in 12 years.

Grabner had two goals and an assist and Mathias Lange made 34 saves as Austria held off Norway 3-1 on Sunday for its first victory in the Sochi Games.

Michael Raffl scored in the first period for Austria, which finished third in its group at 1-2. Austria and Norway both lost to powerful Canada and Finland, who met later in the day to decide the group winner.

Grabner, the New York Islanders forward, has five goals in his first three Olympic matches after scoring early and late against Norway. Grabner had a hat trick in his Olympic debut three days earlier, and his breakaway goal against Norway with 1:37 left secured the victory.

That's better than he's doing back home on Long Island, where Grabner has just nine goals in 56 games.

"I should have probably 20, but I didn't score as many goals over there as I want yet," Grabner said. "It's nice to get some here, and maybe get the confidence when I go back."

Austria is in its first Olympic tournament since 2002, and six players from that Salt Lake City team are still in the lineup. Grabner was too young to play back then, but his speedy partnership with the Philadelphia Flyers' Raffl has been dynamic in Sochi.

"I think there's a lot of guys here with speed and skill," Grabner said. "Michael Raffl, I've been playing with him all tournament, and he's doing a great job of finding me. He's a great playmaker."

Per-Age Skroder scored and Lars Haugen stopped 24 shots for Norway, which hasn't won an Olympic hockey game since its home Lillehammer Games in 1994. The Norwegians' winless performance in preliminary-round play means they'll be in a tough matchup when the elimination games begin.

"Obviously, we're going to be meeting better opponents," Norway captain Ole-Kristian Tollefsen said. "It was a big carrot for us in this game to meet Slovenia in the next game, but we couldn't pull the effort off. We just didn't play good enough."

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