Minnesota Wild super sophomore Mikael Granlund had three points to help lead Finland over Austria by a score of 8-4 in their Olympic opener Thursday.
Granlund scored two goals and added an assist in the unexpected blowout. One of Granlund's goals was about as beautiful as they get. He somehow fired a puck through traffic and over the right shoulder of the Austrian goaltender. Here's a GIF of the goal.
Former Golden Gopher and current New York Islander Thomas Vanek said it was a wake-up call.
"In case we didn't know what we were up against, we got a reality check," Vanek said, via the Pioneer Press. "You've got to play a certain way, and I think we didn't do it. Our goalie needs to be our best player, and we need to help him more."
Vanek, who helped the Gophers win back-to-back National Championships in 2002 and 2003, ripped Austrian goalie Bernhard Starkbaum.
“We started great and then gave up easy goals. We gave up too many shots from the middle and our goalie couldn’t control them,” Vanek said, via NBC Sports. “For us to beat a team like Finland, (Starkbaum) needs to be our best player. I thought that he was good but not great. That is not a knock on him, that is just reality.”
According to Pro Hockey Talk, the Finns weren't expected to come out scoring at will like they did. In fact, most experts thought the only way Finland could go deep in the tournament was by playing defensive hockey.
Finland has medaled in four of the last five Winter Olympics, according to the Star Tribune.