Olympics-Ice hockey-Finns off to flying start with win over Austria


By Steve Keating

SOCHI, Russia Feb 13 (Reuters) - Finland fell behind after less than a minute but quickly found their stride and claimed an 8-4 victory over Austria on Thursday as the Sochi Olympics men's ice hockey competition kicked into high gear.

The Finnish rout marked the start of an action packed day at the Sochi arenas with the big guns of international ice hockey - Canada, Russia and the United States - all set to enter the fray.

Austria, back in the Olympic ice hockey competition for the first time since the 2002 Salt Lake Winter Games, announced their return in stunning style with Michael Grabner scoring just 36 seconds after the opening faceoff.

But the Finns, who have reached the podium in four of the last five Winter Games, were soon back in control with Olli Maatta and Jarrko Immonen scoring eight seconds apart to end the opening period to put them 4-2 ahead.

Mikael Granlund, with a pair of goals, Immonen, with his second of the game, and Sami Lepisto, Jussi Jokinen and Petri Kontiola rounded out the Finland scoring.

Grabner added a pair of third-period tallies to complete the Olympic hat-trick for Austria while Thomas Hundertpfund had the other goal. (Editing by Peter Rutherford)