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Winter Olympics 2014 hockey results: Hilary Knight key in Team USA's first win

The United States defeated Finland, 3-1, in the first match of the Olympics.

Former Badger Hilary Knight
Former Badger Hilary Knight
Nicole Haase

Less than a minute into the game, former Wisconsin Badger Hilary Knight made her presence felt on international ice when she intercepted a Finnish pass and scored an unassisted goal to put USA up 1-0.

The goal was a crucial confidence-boost for the Americans, who lost to Finland 3-1 in the Four Nations Tournament last November. Finland is led by its goalie, inarguably the best in the world, former Minnesota Gopher Noora Raty.

The ability to get to Raty quickly and shake off the previous loss helped Team USA get a solid start.

Knight had the assist on Team USA's second goal, as well. Megan Bozek put a long shot on net that Knight gathered and put up in the air to the right of the goal. Raty deflected it to the opposite post, where Kelli Stack was able to knock it out of the air and in. Knight is the only American so far with two points.

Team USA's third goal came from Alex Carpenter when she buried a rebound off an Anne Schleper shot that came live off the boards. Carpenter was all even with the goal line and back-handed the puck in at an all but impossible angle.

Without Raty, the game likely would have ended with an even more lopsided score. Team USA was able to put 43 shots on goal and Raty kept Finland in the game. Her defense let her down, especially early in the game, turning over pucks along the blue line and allowing the Americans too much access to the net.

Jessie Vettter was unable to complete the shutout when Finland scored on a power-play late in the third period. Two current North Dakota players combined on that goal. Finland finished the game with 15 shots on goal and Vetter ended with 14 saves.

Brianna Decker was given quite a bit of camera time and commentary in the third period. She's the former Badger that's received the least amount of pre-Olympic press, but Doc Emerick and AJ Mleczko highlighted her hockey sense and how Mark Johnson felt she should have been included on the Olympic team in 2010.

Team USA will be back in action Monday morning against Switzerland at 4 a.m. CT on NBCSN.