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‘Austria should never have a chance against Canada,’ says Raffl

Feb 13, 2014, 10:00 PM EDT

Ice Hockey - Winter Olympics Day 6 - Finland v Austria Getty Images

On paper, it’s a huge mismatch. And the Austrian men’s hockey team knows it.

Austria, ranked 15th in the world in the men’s IIHF ranking, meets the No. 5-ranked Canada, the defending gold medal champions with a lineup full of the game’s greatest stars, in preliminary Group B action on Friday. Needless to say, the Canadian contingent goes into this one as the heavy favorites and the Austrians are aware the chances of pulling off a monumental upset victory are slim. Very slim.

“If you’re realistic, Austria should never have a chance against Canada,” Austrian forward Michael Raffl told The Canadian Press. “You can’t go in there like that. You want to win. But you know your chances.”

Austria opened the tournament with a wild 8-4 loss to Finland on Thursday. That defeat prompted a stern critique of Austria’s goaltender, Bernhard Starkbaum, from Austrian forward Thomas Vanek.

“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. “He added, “For us to beat a team like Finland, (Starkbaum) needs to be our best player.

Canada got off to a nervous looking start against Norway, but eventually settled down and overtook the game, winning by a final score of 3-1.

Roberto Luongo will get the start in goal for Canada against Austria, while Mike Smith will be on the bench as the back up.

  1. thomasvanek - Feb 13, 2014 at 10:22 PM

    I don’t understand these rankings. How in the world is Canada only ranked 5th?

    • esracerx46 - Feb 13, 2014 at 10:29 PM

      Rankings are based on the 2013 World Championships. In which Canada finished in 5th place, and Austria 15th.
      Sweden
      Switzerland
      United States
      Finland
      Canada
      Russia.

      • bsaures - Feb 13, 2014 at 10:51 PM

        It goes on a weighted average of the last 4 world championships and the olympics. Canada never does well at the worlds because they put it when the majority of canadas players are still in the playoffs for the NHL

    • therealjr - Feb 14, 2014 at 12:21 AM

      I think it goes without saying the IIHF rankings are completely useless. They may as well use polls like college sports if they want to bother with rankings.

  2. blomfeld - Feb 13, 2014 at 11:26 PM

    JUNE 24TH, 1876 ?

    Fellow historians will recognize this date only too well, knowing that this was the evening ‘prior’ to General George Armstrong Custer’s last day of life. And much like tonight, there was a also full moon that fateful night, all the those many years ago out ‘there’ in the southern Montana territory. Friends, the bottom line is that from history we can see the future. And in this context, I contend that Canada is now very much in danger of assuming the role of Custer’s 7th Cavalry at the Little Big Horn, with Austria playing the part of the ‘combined’ Lakota and Cheyenne nations. Of course my Canadian passport dictates that I should be cheering for Crosby and I do, honestly. Nonetheless, there’s ‘something’ in the air tonight which is telling me that tomorrow could spell big trouble for Canada ?

    • puregreed - Feb 14, 2014 at 1:17 AM

      Probably “something” in a bottle rather than something in the air.

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