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Austria tops Norway for first victory in Sochi

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Updated: 2/16 2:56 pm

Sochi, Russia (SportsNetwork.com) - Michael Grabner lit the lamp twice and added an assist, as Austria secured its first victory of the Sochi Olympics with a 3-1 win over Norway on Sunday in the men's ice hockey tournament from Bolshoy Ice Dome.

Grabner and Michael Raffl scored 2:25 apart in the opening frame to provide just enough support for Mathias Lange, who stopped 34-of-35 shots in his first Olympic start.

Grabner potted his fifth marker in Sochi late in the third, as Austria secured its first Olympic ice hockey win since 2002 to finish third in Group B at 1-2.

Per-Age Skroder scored the lone Norway goal, while Lars Haugen allowed three goals on 27 shots in the setback, Norway's third in as many tries in Sochi.

Austria jumped on top just under 4 1/2 minutes in, as Thomas Pock picked up a drop pass atop the right circle and threaded the needle to the low left side for a cutting Grabner, who one-touched the disc past Haugen for a 1-0 lead.

Austria doubled its edge on the power play under three minutes later, as Raffl stuffed one home from the low right side to make it 2-0 at 6:52 of the opening frame.

Norway cut the margin in half just over eight minutes into the second when Patrick Thoresen recovered a rebound just below the goal line on the low right side and quickly dished to the slot, where Skroder ripped the puck past Lange to bring Norway within 2-1 at 8:05.

However, Norway was unable to solve Lange the rest of the way, despite having a pair of power plays in the third.

Grabner then put the game away late, as he got behind the defense and waited for Haugen to come out and challenge before stepping around the Norwegian netminder and stuffing the puck into the empty net to account for the final margin.

Austria is the ninth seed in the qualification round and will play Slovenia on Tuesday in an elimination game. The winner advances to a quarterfinal matchup with top-seeded Sweden.

Norway is seeded last among the 12 teams and will face Russia on Tuesday with the winner advancing to the quarterfinals against fourth-seeded Finland.

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