By Frank Pingue
SOCHI, Russia (Reuters) - Canada began the defense of their Olympic men's ice hockey title with a 3-1 win over a determined Norway after overcoming a sluggish start at the Sochi Games on Thursday.
Despite having a team brimming with top talent from the National Hockey League, Canada were forced to work harder than many had expected to hold off one of international ice hockey's traditionally weaker outfits.
Norway, whose best Olympic finish came in 1972 when they finished eighth out of 11 teams, held Canada scoreless until Shea Weber blasted home a shot from the point as the midway mark of the game approached.
Canada took a 2-0 lead into the final period following a Jamie Benn goal but Norway cut the deficit through Patrick Thoresen's powerplay effort in the opening seconds.
Drew Doughty restored Canada's two-goal cushion moments later and Norway never threatened again as the contest drew to a close.
(Reporting by Frank Pingue; Editing by Mark Pangallo)