Not even a Michael Grabner hat trick was enough for Austria on Thursday.
Playing in its first Olympic hockey game since 2002, Austria was on the losing end of an 8-4 dismantling at the hands of Finland.
Things started off so well for Austria, too.
Grabner, one of just three NHL players on the Austrian roster, scored his first goal just 39 seconds in, capitalizing on some early sloppy play from Finland and stunning the favorites. A Thomas Hundertpfund goal 10 minutes later that bounced in off the skate of Finland's Olli Maatta gave Austria an early 2-1 lead thanks to goals on two on their first three shots.
And then it was all downhill from there as Finland scored five consecutive goals, including two just eight seconds apart late in the first period, to take control of the game.
Finland received goals from six different players and fired 52 shots on Austrian goalie Bernard Starkbaum. Jarkko Immonen and Mikael Granlund led the way offensively with each player scoring a pair of goals in the win, while Sami Vatanen added three assists from the blue line.
The only real bad news for Finland was the injury suffered by forward Teemu Selanne in the first period, and a rather slow start that allowed Austria to hang around a little longer than expected.
Selanne played just 5:27 before leaving with what the team is calling an upper body injury, though he is not expected to miss any additional time. That is big for a team that is already missing forwards Mikko Koivu and Valterri Filppula
Entering the tournament Finland's strength was expected to be in net with what might be the best trio of goaltenders in the tournament, led by Boston's Tuukka Rask who received the start on Thursday. He made just 16 saves on 20 shots, which is a little out of character for him, but a lot of that was due to the first 10 minutes when his defense kind of left him alone on an island. In the first 40 seconds alone Finland was guilty of a pair of brutal turnovers that led to prime scoring chances for Austria, including the one that resulted in Grabner's opening goal.
Once Finland settled down and got its act together, it wasn't much of a struggle for Rask or his teammates.
Both teams are back in action on Friday as Finland takes on Norway, while things don't get any easier for Austria as it gets to deal with the Canadian juggernaut.
More on the Winter Olympics:
• SB Nation's Winter Olympics medal tracker | Meet Team USA
• Shaun White fails to capture gold | Women make halfpipe podium
• What you need to know about curling | Bobsled, luge and skeleton
• Miracle Put on Ice: 1984 US hockey team never had a chance
• Hockey: Men’s schedule | All 12 men’s rosters | USA roster analysis
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