Olympics: US women win ice hockey opener

SOCHI, Russia - Hilary Knight scored after just 53 seconds and had an assist as the United States beat Finland 3-1 in the opening game of the Sochi Olympic women's hockey tournament on Saturday.

Kelli Stack and Alex Carpenter scored second period goals for the Americans, who outshot the Fins 43-15 in front of a crowd of 4,135 at the Shayba Arena.

US goaltender Jessie Vetter was little troubled in the one-sided contest, which came just three months after Finland defeated the Americans by the same score at the Four Nations Cup tournament.

The Fins' victory in Lake Placid, New York, was hailed as their "Miracle on Ice" and it provided some hope for the underdogs going into the tournament opener.

The United States are favoured to win the gold medal in Sochi, having beaten three-time defending champions Canada four straight times in a pre-Olympic exhibition series.

The crowd backed Finland at the Shayba, cheering every shot on goal and what little offence they could muster against the Americans. Knight, who was the best player on the ice for the USA, opened the scoring by picking up a loose puck just seconds into the contest.

She raced in alone and beat goaltender Noora Raty with a shot to the stick side. Stack and Carpenter, on the powerplay, notched second period goals.

Stack took a puck off her chest and used the lower shaft of her stick to bat it out of the air and into the net. Susanna Tapani scored the lone goal on the powerplay for Finland late in the game, one-timing a pass across the crease from teammate Michelle Karvinen.