By Matt Calamia
After out-playing yet narrowly escaping Team Norway Thursday night, Team Canada flexed its muscle on Friday and showed the world why they are one of the front-runners to capture gold in Sochi.
Los Angeles’ Jeff Carter led the way for Canada with a second period hat trick — the first natural hat trick in men’s hockey since the 1988 games — as Canada rolled past Austria, 6-0.
Canada (2-0) will face Finland (2-0) Sunday at 12 pm EST in their final game of the preliminary round.
Canada opened the scoring just 5:24 into the game when Drew Doughty’s wrist shot found the back of the net to give Canada the 1-0 lead. Shea Weber capped the scoring in the first period with a blast from the top of the circle off a drop pass from Corey Perry to make it 2-0.
The wheels came off for Austria in the second period. After serving a two-minute penalty for tripping, Carter scored his first of the game from Patrick Marleau and Sidney Crosby, and added his second just 2:10 later to make it 4-0.
Carter completed the hat trick at 14:33 of the middle stanza, with assists coming from Marleau and Weber, to make it 5-0.
Anaheim’s Ryan Getzlaf had a highlight-reel marker late in the second period, as he toe-dragged around a defender and beat Austria starter Bernhard Starkbaum, who was pulled in favor of Mathias Lange.
Rick Nash finished with three shots and a plus-1 rating in 10:26 of ice time. He’s been held off the scoresheet in both Canada wins. Roberto Luongo made 23 saves for the shutout.
Mats Zuccarello and Team Norway were unable to carry the success of their strong showing from yesterday against Team Canada, falling to Finland, 6-1.
The ageless Teemu Selanne opened the scoring in the first period when he fired a wrist shot from just inside the blueline that beat Norway’s Lars Haugen just 5:46 into the contest. Just over a minute later, Lauri Korpikoski made it 2-0 for the Finns.
Jori Lehtera capped the scoring in the first period to give Finland the 3-0.
Korpikoski scored his second goal of the game at 8:30 of the second period to extend their lead to 4-0, and Winnipeg’s Olli Jokinen scored three minutes later to make it 5-0.
Norway got on the board 1:01 into the third period on a power play goal by Per-Age Skroder on the power play to spoil Kari Lehtonen’s shutout bid.
Olli Maatta finished the scoring for the Finns with less than three minutes to go, burying a backhand shot to make it 6-1.
Zuccarello finished the game with with four shots and was a minus-1 in 20:51 of ice time.