x Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 27 July 2017

Iginla hat-trick draws home cheer

Dany Heatley also scored twice with 15 players involved in their first six goals as hosts open their ice hockey campaign with a 8-0 win over Norway.

VANCOUVER // Jarome Iginla scored a hat-trick as home favourites Canada opened their men's ice hockey campaign with an 8-0 win over Norway. Dany Heatley also scored twice with 15 players involved in their first six goals. Sidney Crosby had three assists on his Olympic debut as the hosts showed off the offensive strength they lacked in Turin four years ago, when they were shut out in three of their final four games on their way to finishing seventh.

Heatley said: "Each game is going to get tougher. We have to get better, but it was a good start." Ryan Getzlaf, Mike Richards and Corey Perry also scored in a game that was reminiscent of Canada's 10-0 win over Norway in 1992. Pal Grotnes, the Norway goalie and a carpenter by trade, was strong early, turning aside all 14 shots in the first period, but it was too much to ask of a country that lacks a single NHL player to keep up against a virtual NHL All-Star team. "It was a matter of time, maybe, but it was a lot of fun - in the first period," Grotnes said.

"We are in Canada. That's why we had nerves," Mike Babcock, the Canada coach, said. "We want to show how good we are, but we're still a work in progress." The USA, who are in the same group as Canada, were made to work hard for their win against Switzerland 3-1. Bobby Ryan scored late in the first period,and David Backes and Ryan Malone added the others for the US. "Once I scored, I was able to settle down and come back into my own a little bit," Ryan said.

"You definitely don't want to come from behind early. To get the lead, I think it settled the game down quite a bit for us." The US face Norway in their next game while Canada play Switzerland, before the two North American rivals meet in their final group game on Sunday. "The boys did a good job in a tight first period," said Ryan Miller, the US goalie. "Both teams were feeling it out. We created really well in the second."

"I'm sure some of these guys were nervous," added Brian Burke, the US general manager. "This is the big stage." Russia, who along with Canada are favourites for the gold, also started with a win as they beat Latvia 8-2. Alex Ovechkin and Danis Zaripov scored two goals apiece for the Russians while Evgeni Nabokov made 18 saves. The result was almost a repeat of the 9-2 victory over the Latvians in Turin four years ago.

* AP