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Vanek critical of Austrian goalie in blowout loss

Feb 13, 2014, 7:22 AM EDT

The puck flies past Austria goaltender Bernhard Starkbaum for a goal by Finland in the third period of a men's ice hockey game at the 2014 Winter Olympics, Thursday, Feb. 13, 2014, in Sochi, Russia. (AP Photo/Mark Humphrey ) AP

Austria was able to match Finland blow-for-blow for the first 10 minutes of Thursday’s contest, then the Finnish squad pulled away en route to an 8-4 blowout.

Austrian forward Thomas Vanek was understandably upset and he was hard on goaltender 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, according to the Olympic News Service. He added, “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.”

Starkbaum is 27 years old and has never played professionally in North America. He wasn’t drafted by an NHL club and instead got his start in the Austrian league. He was playing in the Swedish Hockey League before joining his nation’s Olympic team.

The Austrian goaltender faced 52 shots against a Finnish team loaded with NHL talent.

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