Archive for OG – Finland

Finland 5 – Slovakia 3 : Bronze Medal Match Report

Finnish forward OLLI JOKINEN backhands the puck past Slovakia goaltender JAROSLAV HALAK (41) in the third period for the winning goal in Finland's 5-3 triumph in the Bronze Medal Match at the 2010 Winter Olympic Games from Vancouver, Canada. (Matt Slocum/AP)

Finnish forward OLLI JOKINEN backhands the puck past Slovakia goaltender JAROSLAV HALAK (41) in the third period for the winning goal in Finland's 5-3 triumph in the Bronze Medal Match at the 2010 Winter Olympic Games from Vancouver, Canada. (Matt Slocum/AP)

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The Bronze Medal Match always features two teams who would rather be somewhere else — in the Gold Medal Game, specifically.

Nevertheless, both FINLAND and SLOVAKIA had all to play for in the contest for third place at the 2010 Winter Olympic Games in Vancouver, Canada.

Finland, the runners-up four years ago in Turin, took the ice with the chance for a fourth Olympic medal the past five tournaments on offer; the Slovaks, for their part, were seeking the first Olympic hardware in the nation’s hockey history.

It would be the Finns to strike first after the scoring champion from the 1994 Lillehammer Games, Slovakia’s ZIGMUND PALFFY of HK 36 Skalica, was sent of for holding late in the opening period. Finnish defenseman SAMI SALO of the Olympic host city’s Vancouver Canucks then blasted a shot from the top of the right circle past Slovak goaltender JAROSLAV HALAK of the Montreal Canadiens with a little over a minute left until the first intermission. The chance had been created by the hustling play of Finland’s MIKKO KOIVU of the Minnesota Wild; Koivu successfully chased down Slovakia’s MICHAL HANDZUS just before the blueline in the offensive zone and jarred the puck loose with an effective check.  

Slovakia, handily outshot 12-5 over the initial twenty minutes, were able to regroup for the second session in large part due to the play of their special teams. 

Four seconds from halfway point of the second period, Slovakia’s MARIAN GABORIK balanced the scoreboard. With the Slovakia on the man-advantage, Gaborik worked his way from the right circle into the slot to receive a pass from PAVOL DEMITRA. The New York Rangers sniper promptly proceeded to wrist the puck past Finland netminder MIIKKA KIPRUSOFF for his fourth goal of the 2010 Vancouver Games. 

With a little less than four and a half minutes left in the second stanza and this time operating on a two-man surplus, Slovakia again scored on the power play. Having whiffed on his first attempt with a lucky find, Chicago Black Hawks forward MARIAN HOSSA kicked himself the puck for a second chance at the side of the net after the Los Angeles King Handzus had flubbed his shot from the slot.

Slovakia surged to a 3-1 lead with 1:15 to be played in the second period when Hossa and Demitra went off on a two-on-one rush shorthanded.

Hossa would hand Demitra a picture perfect saucer pass for the Olympic host city’s Vancouver Canuck to hammer behind Kiprusoff. Injured most of this National Hockey League season, the 35-year-old veteran had amassed just one goal and four points in 11 NHL games prior to the Vancouver Games. Demitra’s shorthanded goal raised his 2010 Olympic totals to three goals and ten points from seven games.

And so, Slovakia were a mere twenty minutes from their first-ever medal for ice hockey the Winter Olympics.

But, perhaps, the Finns featured too much interntional experience on staff to let the opportunity for a fourth Olympic medal from the last five tournaments at the Winter Games pass.

Calgary Flames forward NIKLAS HAGMAN ignited the comeback for Finland with his fourth goal of the 2010 Vancouver Games five minutes into the final period. With the Finns benefiting from a power play, Philadelphia Flyers defenseman KIMMO TIMONEN waltzed into the slot for a wrist shot Hagman redirected behind Halak.

It would be the former Calgary Flames forward on his 106th appearance for Finland in a major international, OLLI JOKINEN, who stepped to the forefront to carry the torch for Suomi shortly thereafter.

Roughly a minute and a half following Hagman’s marker, the newest New York Ranger received a pass from the Ottawa Senators’ JARKKO RUUTU in the slot and snapped a wrist shot past the stickside of Halak to draw Finland level. After Hossa had been boxed for tripping almost eight minutes into the final frame, Jokinen then received a precision pass from defenseman JONI PITKANEN of the Carolina Hurricane at the Slovak blueline. The 31-year-old quickly shed Slovkian rearguard LUBOMIR VISNOVSKY of the Edmonton Oilers to approach Halak unhindered.

A textbook backhand goal, Jokinen’s third of the 2010 Vancouver Games and 32nd for Finland in a major international, left Halak helpless and would ultimately bring the set of bronze medals to Suomi.

This after Kiprusoff rediscovered his form in the Finnish goal for the third period to stifle the Slovaks and VALTTERI FILPPULA of the Detroit Red Wings found the empty Slovak net with 11 seconds left for his third goal of this Olympic tournament.

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FINLAND 5 – SLOVAKIA 3

Shots-on-goal :  Finland 33 – Slovakia 22

FIN goals :  Jokinen 2, Salo, Hagman, Filppula  

SVK goals :  Mn. Hossa, Gaborik, Demitra

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Slovakia defenseman ANDREJ SEKERA (44) of the Buffalo Sabres and Finland forward VILLE PELTONEN (16) of Belarussian club Dynamo Minsk in the Kontinental Hockey League hit the deck in the Bronze Medal Match in Vancouver. Peltonen, 36, a four-time Olympian who played for the San Jose Sharks, Nashville Predators and Florida Panthers in the NHL, was appearing in his 144th game for Finland at a major international tournament. (Matt Slocum/AP)

Slovakia defenseman ANDREJ SEKERA (44) of the Buffalo Sabres and Finland forward VILLE PELTONEN (16) of Belarussian club Dynamo Minsk in the Kontinental Hockey League hit the deck in the Bronze Medal Match in Vancouver. Peltonen, 36, a four-time Olympian who played for the San Jose Sharks, Nashville Predators and Florida Panthers in the NHL, was appearing in his 144th game for Finland at a major international tournament. (Matt Slocum/AP)

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Finland's top scorer at the 2010 Winter Olympics, Calgary Flames forward NIKLAS HAGMAN (10), is crunched against the boards by Slovakia defenseman ZDENO CHARA (33) of the Boston Bruins in the Bronze Medal Match from Vancouver. (Harry How/Getty Images)

Finland's top scorer at the 2010 Winter Olympics, Calgary Flames forward NIKLAS HAGMAN (10), is crunched against the boards by Slovakia defenseman ZDENO CHARA (33) of the Boston Bruins in the Bronze Medal Match from Vancouver. (Harry How/Getty Images)

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Slovakian defenseman MILAN JURCINA (68) of the Columbus Blue Jackets jousts with Finnish forward TUOMO RUUTU (15) of the Carolina Hurricanes in the Bronze Medal Match at the 2010 Winter Games. (Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)

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The Slovak defender Jurcina (68) plants the Finnish forward Peltonen (16) at the edge of Finland’s bench beside the tree on the murled board in the Bronze Medal Match from Vancouver. (Jamie Squire/Getty Images)

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Finland forward VILLE PELTONEN (16) punishes the muraled board with his face as Slovakia defenseman ANDREJ SEKERA (44) observes in the Bronze Medal Match at the 2010 Winter Olympics from Vancouver. Perhaps Peltonen was not impressed with the artwork on display and chose to protest in an unusual fashion. (Julie Jacobson/AP)

Finland forward VILLE PELTONEN (16) punishes the muraled board with his face as Slovakia defenseman ANDREJ SEKERA (44) observes in the Bronze Medal Match at the 2010 Winter Olympics from Vancouver. Perhaps Peltonen was not impressed with the artwork on display and chose to protest in an unusual fashion. (Julie Jacobson/AP)

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Slovakia’s 37-year-old JOZEF STUMPEL (15) as well as Finland’s 36-year-old JERE LEHTINEN (26) each fashion an interesting face in their duel for the black disc in the Bronze Medal Match at Canada Hockey Place in Vancouver. (Harry How/Getty Images)

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Jaw still agape, the Slovak Stumpel is on his way to the ice surface at Canada Hockey Place as teammate MARIAN GABORIK (10) of the New York Rangers looks to gather the loose puck in the Bronze Medal Match at the Vancouver Games. (Harry How/Getty Images)

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Slovakia defenseman MARTIN STRBAK (77) of Russian club HK MVD Balashikha is squashed against the glass by Finland forward JARKKO RUUTU (37) of the Ottawa Senators in the Bronze Medal Match at the Vancouver Games. (Harry How/Getty Images)

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Finnish forward JARKKO RUUTU (37) in an all-out bid to dispossess Slovakia star MARIAN HOSSA (81) of the puck in the Bronze Medal Match at Canada Hockey Place in Vancouver. The blue-collar Ruutu put forth a solid effort for Suomi at the 2010 Winter Olympics; the 34-year-old veteran, who had scored three goals in 72 games for Finland at major international events previously, tallied two goals in six games at the Vancouver Games. (Harry How/Getty Images)

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Finnish forward NIKLAS HAGMAN holds his stick high in front of Slovak goaltender JAROSLAV HALAK after the not-pictured SAMI SALO opened the scoring in the Bronze Medal Match at Canada Hockey Place. (Julie Jacobson/AP)

Finnish forward NIKLAS HAGMAN holds his stick high in front of Slovak goaltender JAROSLAV HALAK after the not-pictured SAMI SALO opened the scoring in the Bronze Medal Match at Canada Hockey Place. (Julie Jacobson/AP)

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Hagman has a look down at the puck in the Slovak net as Finland go out front 1-0 in the Bronze Medal Match at the Vancouver Games. (AP/Julie Jacobson)

Hagman has a look down at the puck in the Slovak net as Finland go out front 1-0 in the Bronze Medal Match at the Vancouver Games. (AP/Julie Jacobson)

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With Finnish supporters showing the flag in the background, MIKKO KOIVU (9) and SAMI SALO (6) celebrate the opening goal of the Bronze Medal Match at the 2010 Winter Olympics. Koivu had created the chance with hustle in the offensive zone. Salo, meanwhile, picked a fine time to pot his first goal of the Vancouver Games. (Harry How/Getty Images)

With Finnish supporters showing the flag in the background, MIKKO KOIVU (9) and SAMI SALO (6) celebrate the opening goal of the Bronze Medal Match at the 2010 Winter Olympics. Koivu had created the chance with hustle in the offensive zone. Salo, meanwhile, picked a fine time to pot his first goal of the Vancouver Games. (Harry How/Getty Images)

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The wrist shot of the not-pictured MARIAN GABORIK of Slovakia escapes Finnish netminder MIIKKA KIPRUSOFF and bulges the back of the net in the Bronze Medal Match at Canada Hockey Place. (Julie Jacobson/AP)

The wrist shot of the not-pictured MARIAN GABORIK of Slovakia escapes Finnish netminder MIIKKA KIPRUSOFF and bulges the back of the net in the Bronze Medal Match at Canada Hockey Place. (Julie Jacobson/AP)

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A high kick for MARIAN GABORIK (10) of Slovakia after the New York Rangers star leveled the Bronze Medal Match of the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver. (Harry How/Getty Images)

A high knee kick for MARIAN GABORIK (10) of Slovakia after the New York Rangers star leveled the score in the second period of the Bronze Medal Match of the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver. (Harry How/Getty Images)

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Finnish netminder MIIKKA KIPRUSOFF follows the bouncing puck as Slovakia’s MARIAN HOSSA (81) prepares to pounce in the Bronze Medal Match at the Vancouver Games. (Jamie Squire/Getty Images)

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After fanning on his first attempt, the Chicago Black Hawks star Hossa (81) kicks the puck to himself for a second chance with the goalkeeper Kiprusoff struggling and Finnish defenseman SAMI SALO (6) stuck on the other side of the net

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Having regained control of the puck on his stick, Hossa prepares to push Slovakia into its first lead of the Bronze Medal Match at Canada Hockey Place in Vancouver. (Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)

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The Vancouver Canuck defenseman Salo (6) watches his early goal for Finland go by the wayside as Hossa finishes for Slovakia. (Jamie Squire/Getty Images)

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MARIAN HOSSA (81) hands Slovakia a 2-1 lead with his thrid goal of the Vancouver Games despite one last desperate lunge from Finland goaltender MIIKKA KIPRUSOFF in the Bronze Medal Match at the 2010 Winter Olympics. Hossa, 30, has now netted 28 goals in 66 major international games for Slovakia. (Bruce Bennett/Getty Images) 

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The Slovak assistant captain MARIAN HOSSA jumps for joy after sending Slovakia to the lead in the Bronze Medal Match at the 2010 Vancouver Games. Hossa now stands alone in second place on Slovakia's all-time scoring chart for major international tournaments with 65 points. (Harry How/Getty Images)

The Slovak assistant captain MARIAN HOSSA jumps for joy after sending Slovakia to the lead in the Bronze Medal Match at the 2010 Vancouver Games. Hossa now stands alone in second place on Slovakia's all-time scoring chart for major international tournaments with 65 points. (Harry How/Getty Images)

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Slovakia’s PAVOL DEMITRA (38) of the Vancouver Canucks directs’s MARIAN HOSSA’s handsome saucer pass past Finnish netminder MIIKKA KIPRUSOFF of the Calgary Flames on the shorthanded break in the Bronze Medal Match of the 2010 Winter Olympics. (Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)

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The third goal of the Vancouver Games for Demitra (38) the Canuck gives Slovakia a 3-1 over Finland late in the second period of the Bronze Medal Match at Canada Hockey Place. (Matt Slocum/AP)

The third goal of the Vancouver Games for Demitra (38) the Canuck gives Slovakia a 3-1 over Finland late in the second period of the Bronze Medal Match at Canada Hockey Place. (Matt Slocum/AP)

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Slovakia's PAVOL DEMITRA (38) delights with his shorthanded goal for Slovakia against Finland in his 'hometown' at the Vancouver Games. Demitra will finish the 2010 Winter Olympics as the tournament top-scorer with 10 points for Slovakia. (Gene J. Puskar/AP)

Slovakia's PAVOL DEMITRA (38) delights with his shorthanded goal for Slovakia against Finland in his 'hometown' at the Vancouver Games. Demitra will finish the 2010 Winter Olympics as the tournament top-scorer with 10 points for Slovakia. (Gene J. Puskar/AP)

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Inside Canada Hockey Place, Finnish fans attempt to rally their troops down two goals heading into the final twenty minutes of play in the Bronze Medal Match at the 2010 Winter Olympic Games from Vancouver. (Jamie Squire/Getty Images)

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Still wearing the protective shield for his fractured jaw, Finland star TEEMU SELANNE (8) of the Anaheim Ducks stickhandles during what was surely the final Olympic ice hockey game of the veteran 39-year-old’s international career against Slovakia in the Bronze Medal Match. Selanne scored no goals in six games at the Vancouver Games; the Finnish Flash had never before failed to notch at least one goal in 12 prior major international tournaments. (Jamie Squire/Getty Images)

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Finland were by far the most experienced squad at the 2010 Winter Olympics with more than 1,000 man-games played at major international tournaments. Ironically enough, the second most-seasoned squad at the Vancouver Games was Slovakia. Philadelphia Flyers defenseman KIMMO TIMONEN (44), above, initiated Finland’s third period comback in the Bronze Medal Match by walking into the slot on the power play. (Bruce Bennett/Getty Images) 

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Finland’s NIKLAS HAGMAN (10) deflects the not-pictured Timonen’s wrist shot from the slot as Slovakia defenseman LUBOMIR VISNOVSKY (17) and goaltender JAROSLAV HALAK (41) defend in the Bronze Medal Match at Canada Hockey Place in Vancouver. (Jamie Squire/Getty Images)

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The hook of the Edmonton Oilers defenseman is in vain as the Montreal Canadiens netminder waves his goalstick with futility; the Calgary Flames forward has already lit the fuse for Finland's comeback in the Bronze Medal Match at Vancouver. (Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)

The hook of the Edmonton Oilers defenseman is in vain as the Montreal Canadiens netminder waves his goalstick with futility; the Calgary Flames forward has already lit the fuse for Finland's comeback in the Bronze Medal Match at Vancouver. (Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)

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Hagman (center) raises his stick high to signal his fourth goal of the Vancouver Games; in the Slovak net, Halak has seen the Finnish deficit trimmed to one five minutes with most of the third period yet to be played. (Jamie Squire/Getty Images)

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Finland’s four-time Olympian and all-time scoring leader at major international tournaments, VILLE PELTONEN (16) of Belarus club Dynamo Minsk, prepares to join OLLI JOKINEN (at the right faceoff dot) just after the New York Ranger fired Finland to a 3-3 third period tie with Slovakia in the Bronze Medal Match the Vancouver Games. (Harry How/Getty Images)

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Suomi’s second-leading goal-scorer all-time at major international events, Peltonen (46 goals), congratulates Jokinen, who has not only lifted Finland level with Slovakia in the Bronze Medal Match at Canada Hockey Place, but moved past Vancouver Olympic teammate SAKU KOIVU (30 goals) into sixth place on Finland’s goal-scoring chart. (Harry How/Getty Images)

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After receiving the pinpoint pass from defenseman JONI PITKANEN, Finland forward OLLI JOKINEN (12) confronts Slovakia goaltender JAROSLAV HALAK unhindered in the Bronze Medal Match of the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver. (Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)

After receiving the pinpoint pass from defenseman JONI PITKANEN, Finland forward OLLI JOKINEN (12) confronts Slovakia goaltender JAROSLAV HALAK unhindered in the Bronze Medal Match of the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver. (Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)

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The Finn Jokinen (12) heads for the five-hole of Halak guarding the Slovakian goal at Canada Hockey Place. (Gene J. Puskar/AP)

The Finn Jokinen (12) heads for the five-hole of Halak guarding the Slovakian goal at Canada Hockey Place. (Gene J. Puskar/AP)

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The New York Ranger Jokinen scores the goal that will result in the bronze medal for Finland at the 2010 Vancouver Games as the Montreal Canadien Halak turns his head for an agonizing inspection of the Slovakia cage. (Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)

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OLLI JOKINEN (12) rejoices as his second goal of the game has given Finland a 4-3 lead over Slovakia in the Bronze Medal Match at Vancouver. For the 31-year-old, his 32nd goal at a major international event ties the three-time Olympian for fifth place with MIKA NIEMINEN on Finland's all-time goal-scoring chart. (Matt Slocum/AP)

OLLI JOKINEN (12) rejoices as his second goal of the game has given Finland a 4-3 lead over Slovakia in the Bronze Medal Match at Vancouver. For the 31-year-old, his 32nd goal at a major international event ties the three-time Olympian for fifth place with MIKA NIEMINEN on Finland's all-time goal-scoring chart. (Matt Slocum/AP)

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With the Slovak net empty, RICHARD ZEDNIK (20) has a final opportunity at goal as Finnish netminder MIIKKA KIPRUSOFF fans out in the Bronze Medal Match from Canada Hockey Place in Vancouver. (Jamie Squire/Getty Images) 

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Four Slovaks forwards — RICHARD ZEDNIK (20), MIROSLAV SATAN (18), MARIAN HOSSA (81) and JOZEF STUMPEL (15) — focus on the puck in the skates of Finland forward JARKKO RUUTU (37) on the edge of the goalcrease late in the Bronze Medal Match of the Vancouver Games. (Bruce Bennett/Getty Images) 

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Finland netminder MIIKKA KIPRUSOFF is able to cover the puck with the help of the hard-to-see Ruutu and KIMMO TIMONEN (44) as SAMI SALO (6) helps shield his goaltender late in Bronze Medal Match from Vancouver. Note the empty net at the other end as PAVOL DEMITRA (38) makes it five Slovak forwards in front of the Finnish goal. (Bruce Bennett/Getty Images) 

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In the waning seconds of the Bronze Medal Match, Finland forward VALTTERI FILPPULA (51) chases down the puck for the clinching empty-net goal as his teammates down ice begin victory celebrations at the Winter Olympics in Vancouver. (Julie Jacobson/AP)

In the waning seconds of the Bronze Medal Match, Finland forward VALTTERI FILPPULA (51) chases down the puck for the clinching empty-net goal as his teammates down ice begin victory celebrations at the Winter Olympics in Vancouver. (Julie Jacobson/AP)

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Slovakia’s melancholy defenseman MILAN JURCINA (68) of the Columbus Blue Jackets sinks to his knees as Finland’s bench empties to bask in the triumph of the Bronze Medal Match at the 2010 Vancouver Games. (Harry How/Getty Images)

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Assistant captains KIMMO TIMONEN (44) and TEEMU SELANNE (8) join Finland captain SAKU KOIVU (11) in leading the bronze medalists from the 2010 Winter Olympic Games on a victory lap at Canada Hockey Place in Vancouver. (Harry How/Getty Images)

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United States 6 – Finland 1 : Match Report

United States forward RYAN MALONE (12) is jubilant just after the third American goal inside the first ten minutes of the semifinal match at the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver. Malone had opened the scoring after an egregious error by Finland netminder MIIKKA KIPRUSOFF just two minutes in. Here, Kiprusoff (34) and Finnish defenseman SAMI SALO look back at the puck in the net at Canada Hockey Place. (Jeff Vinnick/HHOF-IIHF Images)

United States forward RYAN MALONE (12) is jubilant just after the third American goal inside the first ten minutes of the semifinal match at the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver. Malone had opened the scoring after an egregious error by Finland netminder MIIKKA KIPRUSOFF just two minutes in. Here, Kiprusoff (34) and Finnish defenseman SAMI SALO look back at the puck in the net at Canada Hockey Place. (Jeff Vinnick/HHOF-IIHF Images)

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Six goals scored in the first thirteen minutes of the match by the UNITED STATES quite literally doomed FINLAND from the start in the semifinals of the 2010 Winter Olympic Games ice hockey tournament at Vancouver.

“Losing like this, it’s tough,” Finnish star forward TEEMU SELANNE of the Anaheim Ducks declared after the match. “It’s something you don’t want to experience. I have no words. It’s just unbelievable.”

The eventual silver medalist United States shot six goals past Finland in the second period fifty-eight years ago on the way to an 8-2 victory at the Oslo Games in 1952, but the Finns were making only their Olympic debut back at that time. The Finnish roster certainly did not boast the number of crack National Hockey League players as it does these days. And, the chance to compete for the Olympic gold medal had not been directly at stake.

What’s more, Finland’s veteran goaltender, MIIKKA KIPRUSOFF, is rightfully considered to be one the best in the NHL, if not the world. Among the honors the 33-year-old has collected in his career include the hallowed Vezina Trophy, which is awarded annually to the league’s best goaltender. And, the Calgary Flames star puckstopper entered the semifinal match for Finland against the United States posting the best save percentage at the Vancouver Games.

Thus, the six-goal outburst certainly produced a great measure of shock at Canada Hockey Place, if not around the globle.   

It was Kiprusoff, who, after having come far out of his goal crease, kicked off the calamity all by himself. With American forward PHIL KESSEL of the Toronto Maple Leafs approaching, the Finland goaltender inadvertantly passed the puck straight to United States forward RYAN MALONE of the Pittsburgh Penquins. The former Saint Cloud State (Minnesota) skater made no mistake with the net left wide open and maximized the gift to give the U.S. a quick lead after just two minutes.  

A couple of early penalties also did the Finns no favors.

Six and a half minutes in, United States forward ZACH PARISE of the New Jersey Devils profited from a fine goalmouth pass from PAUL STASTNY of the Colorado Avalanche while on the power play; Parise, who scored both American goals in the quarterfinal victory over Switzerland, fired the puck past Kiprusoff to double the advantage.  

Just past the eight and a half minute mark, the Americans scored again with the man advantage. St. Louis Blues defenseman ERIK JOHNSON picked up the puck in the right faceoff circle after forward JOE PAVELSKI of the San Jose Sharks had been stopped at the left side of the net and shot past a scrambling Kiprusoff for a 3-0 United States scoreboard read.

Clearly, the normally-reliable Kiprusoff was rattled and beyond repair, as well. The Chicago Black Hawks’ PATRICK KANE delivered the knockout blow at 10:08 of the first period. After starting the play with a wrist shot from the lower left circle, the 21-year-old U.S. forward collected the loose puck in the slot and went to the right for the backhand finish which ended Kiprusoff’s afternoon.

With just three saves from the first seven United States shots, not-so-hot Calgary Flames keeper made the long skate to the Finnish bench almost immediately after Kane scored.

And so, Minnesota Wild goalie NIKLAS BACKSTROM went in front of net for Finland — but the situation still would not settle for coach JUKKA JALONEN’s men.

Still only twelve and a half minutes into the match, Kane confronted Finland’s substitute puck stopper on the rush and promptly wristed a shot from the right circle past Backstrom’s blocker for a staggering 5-0 United States scoreline; for the American forward, the first overall draft choice of the 2007 NHL Draft from the London Knights of the Ontario Hockey League, it was his third goal of the 2010 Vancouver Games.  

Exactly fifteen seconds later, the American count swelled to six.

Stastny, in the slot, took a sweet pass from United States captain JAMIE LANGENBRUNNER of the New Jersey Devils and popped the puck over the glove of Backstrom into the corner of the net to perpetuate the slaughter.

Technically speaking, there was a little more than 47 minutes of Olympic hockey still to be played at Canada Hockey Place between the United States and Finland in Vancouver, but in all reality, the semifinal result was already wrapped up. 

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UNITED STATES 6 – FINLAND 1

Shots-on-goal :  United States 25 – Finland 25

USA goals :  Kane 2, Malone, Parise, E. Johnson, Stastny

FIN goals :  Miettinen

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United States forward PHIL KESSEL (81) of the Toronto Maple Leafs skates past Finland netminder MIIKKA KIPRUSOFF of the Calgary Flames, who is far from his goalcrease. Kiprusoff has just passed to the puck to the not-pictured Pittsburgh Penquins forward RYAN MALONE, who, of course, plays for Kiprusoff’s opponent, the United States. (Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)

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With the goal unguarded, Kiprusoff scrambles to deal with the deplorable situation just two minutes into the Olympic semifinals in Vancouver. Up to this point, Kiprusoff had been solid as a rock in Finland’s net having allowed just four goals while saving 71 of 75 shots (94.67%) in three games before facing the United States. (Harry How/Getty Images)  

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Kiprusoff (34) looks back to see the shot of United States forward RYAN MALONE (12), directly in front of the Finnish netminder, head across Finland’s goal line as the former University of Minnesota star Kessel gazes on at Canada Hockey Place. (Cameron Spencer/Getty Images) 

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The United States have taken an early 1-0 lead thanks to the tragic play of the Finland goaltender Kiprusoff. The American forward Kessel (81) looks on at the side of net as Malone prepares for a hug in the slot. Meanwhile, on the other side of the goal, Finnish defenseman JANNE NISKALA (21) of Swedish club HC Vastra Frolunda Goteborg can only stare at the puck in the back of Finland’s cage. (Cameron Spencer/Getty Images)

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The United States forward Kessel (81) joins JOE PAVELSKI (16) of the San Jose Sharks in saluting Malone (12) for his goal which jolts Finland just two minutes into the Olympic semifinal at the 2010 Winter Games from Vancouver. (Julie Jacobson/AP)

The United States forward Kessel (81) joins JOE PAVELSKI (16) of the San Jose Sharks in saluting Malone (12) for his goal which jolts Finland just two minutes into the Olympic semifinal at the 2010 Winter Games from Vancouver. (Julie Jacobson/AP)

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UNITED STATES forward ZACH PARISE (9) shoots on Finnish goaltender MIIKKA KIPRUSOFF (34) roughly six and a half minutes into the game on the power play. At the side of the net is U.S. forward PAUL STASTNY (26); hooked in the slot by Finnish defenseman SAMI SALO (6) is American attacker JAMIE LANGENBRUNNER (15), the captain of the United States Olympic team in Vancouver. (Cameron Spencer/Getty Images)===========================================================================

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The former University of North Dakota All-America and current New Jersey Devil, Parise, confronts the former Vezina Trophy winner of the Calgary Flames, Kiprusoff. (Cameron Spencer/Getty Images)

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Stastny (26), at the side of the net, supervises as the Finnish netminder Kiprusoff tries in vain to stop the shot of Parise (9) with his goalstick. Stastny had created the chance for Parise with an excellent goulmouth pass. (Harry How/Getty Images) 

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Parise's third goal of the Vancouver Games gives the United States an early, albeit surprising, 2-0 lead against Finland in the semifinals at the 2010 Winter Olympics. The goal is Parise's eighth career for the United States at a major international event. (Julie Jacobson/AP)

Parise's third goal of the Vancouver Games gives the United States an early, albeit surprising, 2-0 lead against Finland in the semifinals at the 2010 Winter Olympics. The goal is Parise's eighth career for the United States at a major international event. (Julie Jacobson/AP)

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United States forward RYAN MALONE (12), in front, watches the shot of defenseman ERIK JOHNSON (6), far left, whip past Finnish goalie MIIKA KIPRUSOFF (34) for a 3-0 American advantage roughly eight and a half minutes into the Winter Olympic semifinals at Canada Hockey Place. (Hans Deryk/Getty Images) 

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Kiprusoff inspects the damage — a third goal conceded just 8:36 into the contest. The Finnish netminder had come into the semifinals against the United States with the top save percentage for goaltenders (with more than one game) at the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver. (Cameron Spencer/Getty Images)  

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One former University of Minnesota player, U.S. forward PHIL KESSEL (81), celebrates the goal of another, the not-picutred St. Louis Blues defenseman ERIK JOHNSON as Finnish defenseman SAMI SALO (6) stands stunned in the goal crease. Malone (12) and Pavelski (16) prepare to revel for the Americans while VALTTERI FILPPULA (51) is left to reflect for Finland. (Cameron Spencer/Getty Images)

One former University of Minnesota player, U.S. forward PHIL KESSEL (81), celebrates the goal of another, the not-picutred St. Louis Blues defenseman ERIK JOHNSON as Finnish defenseman SAMI SALO (6) stands stunned in the goal crease. Malone (12) and Pavelski (16) prepare to revel for the Americans while VALTTERI FILPPULA (51) is left to reflect for Finland. (Cameron Spencer/Getty Images)

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The Carolina Hurricanes’ 2005 first round selection (# 3 overall) from the University of Michigan, defenseman JACK JOHNSON (3) of the Los Angeles Kings, congratulates his blueline buddy, the St. Louis Blues’ 2006 first round selection (# 1 overall) from the University of Minnesota, ERIK JOHNSON (6), after the United States opened up a quick 3-0 lead on Finland in the semifinals. (Bruce Bennett/Getty Images) 

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United States forward PATRICK KANE (88) backhands the black disc behind Finnish goalkeeper MIIKKA KIPRUSOFF for an astounding fourth American goal ten minutes and eight seconds into the Olympic semifinal match at the 2010 Vancouver Games. (Todd Korol/Reuters)

United States forward PATRICK KANE (88) backhands the black disc behind Finnish goalkeeper MIIKKA KIPRUSOFF for an astounding fourth American goal ten minutes and eight seconds into the Olympic semifinal match at the 2010 Vancouver Games. (Todd Korol/Reuters)

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The puck is behind Kiprusoff in the cage of Finland once again, courtesy the backhand of Chicago Black Hawks star Kane. (Getty Images photo)

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The carnage contines as the Finns are shell shocked at the semifinal stage in Vancouver’s Canada Hockey Place. (Cameron Spencer/Getty Images)

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Kane, the number one overall pick by the Black Hawks at the NHL Draft in 2007, fashions a face after giving the United States a 4-0 lead barely past the halfway point of the first period. (Hans Deryk/Reuters)

Kane, the number one overall pick by the Black Hawks at the NHL Draft in 2007, fashions a face after giving the United States a 4-0 lead barely past the halfway point of the first period. (Hans Deryk/Reuters)

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New York Rangers forward OLLI JOKINEN (12) looks for a seat as Finland’s starting goaltender, MIIKKA KIPRUSOFF (34), climbs over the boards after the fourth U.S. goal. Kiprusoff skated straight to the bench almost immediately after Kane scored on the backhand. Still with his baseball hat on, back-up goalie NIKLAS BACKSTROM (33) of the Minnesota Wild prepares to enter the fray for Finland. (Reuters photo)

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United States forward PATRICK KANE (88) welcomes Finnish goaltender NIKLAS BACKSTROM (33) to the semifinals of the 2010 Winter Games with a goal, his second of the match as Finland defenseman SAMI LEPISTO (18) of the Phoenix Coyotes looks away in Vancouver. (Shaun Best/Reuters)

United States forward PATRICK KANE (88) welcomes Finnish goaltender NIKLAS BACKSTROM (33) to the semifinals of the 2010 Winter Games with a goal, his second of the match as Finland defenseman SAMI LEPISTO (18) of the Phoenix Coyotes looks away in Vancouver. (Shaun Best/Reuters)

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The Black Hawk, Kane, lets out another war cry after scoring his second goal of the game against the newest Finnish netminder, Backstrom, to bring the score to 5-0 for the United States in the semifinals at Canada Hockey Place. (Cameron Spencer/Getty Images)

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United States skaters RYAN SUTER (20), DUSTIN BROWN (32) and RYAN KESLER (17) circle around the goal-scorer Kane behind Backstrom and the Finland net in Vancouver. (Chris O'Meara/AP)

United States skaters RYAN SUTER (20), DUSTIN BROWN (32) and RYAN KESLER (17) circle around the goal-scorer Kane behind Backstrom and the Finland net in Vancouver. (Chris O'Meara/AP)

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United States forward PETER STASTNY (26) beats Finland goaltender NIKLAS BACKSTROM to the glove side while being hooked by Finnish forward TUOMO RUUTU (15) of the Carolina Hurricanes in the semifinals at the 2010 Winter Olympics from Vancouver. (Chris O'Meara/AP)

United States forward PETER STASTNY (26) beats Finland goaltender NIKLAS BACKSTROM to the glove side while being hooked by Finnish forward TUOMO RUUTU (15) of the Carolina Hurricanes in the semifinals at the 2010 Winter Olympics from Vancouver. (Chris O'Meara/AP)

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The former University of Denver skater Stastny, who was born in Quebec City, scores his first goal for the United States at the 2010 Vancouver Games. Paul’s father, Peter, competed for Czechoslovakia at the 1980 Games in Lake Placid and at the 1994 Lillehammer Games for the new nation of Slovakia. In between, Peter Stastny, who was a long-time star for the Quebec Nordiques in the National Hockey League, represented Canada at the 1984 Canada Cup. (Cameron Spencer/Getty Images)

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PETER STASTNY (26) signals an astonishing 6th goal for the United States with just under 13 minutes played in the first Olympic semifinal at the 2010 Winter Games. Behind Stastny is Finnish defenseman SAMI SALO (6) of the host city's Vancouver Canucks. Stastny's goal was his fifth for the U.S. at a major international tournament. (Gene J. Puskar/AP)

PETER STASTNY (26) signals an astonishing 6th goal for the United States with just under 13 minutes played in the first Olympic semifinal at the 2010 Winter Games. Behind Stastny is Finnish defenseman SAMI SALO (6) of the host city's Vancouver Canucks. Stastny's goal was his fifth for the U.S. at a major international tournament. (Gene J. Puskar/AP)

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After the six-goal onslaught, all that was left to do for the United States was play sound, defense-first hockey. Here, Finland's all-time leader with 50 goals at major international tournaments, TEEMU SELANNE (8) of the Anaheim Ducks, is checked by his southern California NHL rival of the Los Angeles Kings, American defenseman JACK JOHNSON (3). Selanne was held off the scoresheet by the U.S. and remained goal-less at the 2010 Winter Games in Vancouver. (Matt Slocum/AP)

After the six-goal onslaught, all that was left to do for the United States was play sound, defense-first hockey. Here, Finland's all-time leader with 50 goals at major international tournaments, TEEMU SELANNE (8) of the Anaheim Ducks, is checked by his southern California NHL rival of the Los Angeles Kings, American defenseman JACK JOHNSON (3). Selanne was held off the scoresheet by the U.S. and remained goal-less at the 2010 Winter Games in Vancouver. (Matt Slocum/AP)

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The Finnish Flash Selanne (8) is chased by United States defenseman RYAN SUTER (20) of the Nashville Predators as U.S. netminder RYAN MILLER (39) defends against the wrap-around. After taking a 6-0 lead, the United States had no urgent need to press the attack. Finland outshot the Americans 21-12 over the final two periods and finished even with the U.S. in that category for the game. (Chris O'Meara/AP)

The Finnish Flash Selanne (8) is chased by United States defenseman RYAN SUTER (20) of the Nashville Predators as U.S. netminder RYAN MILLER (39) defends against the wrap-around. After taking a 6-0 lead, the United States had no urgent need to press the attack. Finland outshot the Americans 21-12 over the final two periods and finished even with the U.S. in that category for the game. (Chris O'Meara/AP)

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As he has been throughout the tournament, the American goaltender Miller was prepared to deliver saves when called upon against Finland in the semifinals at the Winter Olympics from Vancouver. (Reuters photo)

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Two Ryans, American defenseman Suter (20) and goaltender Miller, both reconnoiter the progress of the puck in mid-air in the Olympic semifinals at Canada Hockey Place in Vancouver. (Harry How/Getty Images)

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United States goaltender RYAN MILLER (39) of the Buffalo Sabres is replaced at 8:29 of the third period by TIM THOMAS (30) of the Boston Bruins with Americans still leading 6-0 in the Olympic semifinals at Canada Hockey Place. Up to this point, Miller has played every minute of every U.S. match at the 2010 Vancouver Games. Thomas, 35, is a veteran of four seasons in the Finnish elite league for the IFK Helsinki, Karpat Oulu and Jokerit Helsinki clubs. (Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)

United States goaltender RYAN MILLER (39) of the Buffalo Sabres is replaced at 8:29 of the third period by TIM THOMAS (30) of the Boston Bruins with Americans still leading 6-0 in the Olympic semifinals at Canada Hockey Place. Up to this point, Miller has played every minute of every U.S. match at the 2010 Vancouver Games. Thomas, 35, is a veteran of four seasons in the Finnish elite league for the IFK Helsinki, Karpat Oulu and Jokerit Helsinki clubs. (Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)

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United States forward RYAN CALLAHAN of the New York Rangers rams Finland forward TUOMO RUUTU (15) of the Carolina Hurricanes right in front of the Finnish bench in the semifinals at the Winter Olympics. (Bruce Bennett/Getty Images) 

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United States forward DAVID BACKES (42) of the St. Louis Blues introduces Finland defenseman JONI PITKANEN (25) of the Carolina Hurricanes to the plexiglass at Canada Hockey Place in the Olympic semifinals from Vancouver. (Chris O'Meara/AP)

United States forward DAVID BACKES (42) of the St. Louis Blues introduces Finland defenseman JONI PITKANEN (25) of the Carolina Hurricanes to the plexiglass at Canada Hockey Place in the Olympic semifinals from Vancouver. (Chris O'Meara/AP)

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The Finnish defenseman Pitkanen receives an Olympic-sized stick upside the head from United States forward RYAN MALONE (12) along the boards in Vancouver. (Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)

The Finnish defenseman Pitkanen receives an Olympic-sized stick upside the head from United States forward RYAN MALONE (12) along the boards in Vancouver. (Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)

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United States defenseman BRIAN RAFALSKI (28) flips Finnish forward VALTTERI FIPPULA (51) in pursuit of the puck at the Olympic semifinals in Vancouver. Both Filippula and Rafalski skate professionally for the Detroit Red Wings in the National Hockey League. (Matt Slocum/AP)

United States defenseman BRIAN RAFALSKI (28) flips Finnish forward VALTTERI FIPPULA (51) in pursuit of the puck at the Olympic semifinals in Vancouver. Both Filippula and Rafalski skate professionally for the Detroit Red Wings in the National Hockey League. (Matt Slocum/AP)

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United States defenseman ERIK JOHNSON (6) of the St. Louis Blues and Finland forward VALTTERI FILPPULA (51) of the Detroit Red Wings meet face-to-face along the decorative boards in Vancouver. (Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)

United States defenseman ERIK JOHNSON (6) of the St. Louis Blues and Finland forward VALTTERI FILPPULA (51) of the Detroit Red Wings meet face-to-face along the decorative boards in Vancouver. (Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)

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United States forward RYAN KESLER (17) of the Olympic host city’s Vancouver Canucks contains Finland forward TUOMO RUUTU(15) of the Carolina Hurricanes at the boards in the Olympic semifinals from Vancouver. (Harry How/Getty Images)

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United States forward DUSTIN BROWN (32) of the Los Angeles Kings finishes his check opposite Finland forward JARKKO IMMONEN (62) of Russian club Avangard Omsk in the semfinals at the Vancouver Olympic Games. (Harry How/Getty Images)

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Finland assistant captain TEEMU SELANNE (8) leads his team through the hand-shake line with the United States after the Americans advanced to the Gold Medal Game with a surprising 6-1 result at the expense of Suomi. (Matt Slocum/AP)

Finland assistant captain TEEMU SELANNE (8) leads his team through the hand-shake line with the United States after the Americans advanced to the Gold Medal Game with a surprising 6-1 result at the expense of Suomi. (Matt Slocum/AP)

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Finland 2 – Czech Republic 0 : Match Report

Finland's NIKLAS HAGMAN (10) raises his stick high to signal his third period goal which broke the 0-0 stalemate in the quarterfinals at the 2010 Winter Olympics. Concerned are Czech goaltender TOMAS VOKOUN and defenseman JAN HEJDA (35). Finland defeated the Czech Republic 2-0 to advance to the semifinals of the Vancouver Games. (Jukka Rautio/HHOF-IIHF Images)

Finland's NIKLAS HAGMAN (10) raises his stick high to signal his third period goal which broke the 0-0 stalemate in the quarterfinals at the 2010 Winter Olympics. Concerned are Czech goaltender TOMAS VOKOUN and defenseman JAN HEJDA (35). Finland defeated the Czech Republic 2-0 to advance to the semifinals of the Vancouver Games. (Jukka Rautio/HHOF-IIHF Images)

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Both the CZECH REPUBLIC and FINLAND brought offensive ability to the University of British Columbia Thunderbird Arena for their quarterfinal match at the 2010 Winter Olympic Games in Vancouver, Canada.

What materialized in the midst of the pressures associated with the Olympic tournament was a defensive struggle featuring a good, old-fashioned goaltender’s duel between Finland’s MIIKKA KIPRUSOFF of the Calgary Flames and the Czech Republic’s TOMAS VOKOUN of the Florida Panthers.

The game, at least statistically, was quite evenly contested. The first period would have the Finns finish with an 11-10 edge in shots-on-goal. The second session would have that same result reversed in favor of the Czechs. Indeed, for the whole sixty minutes, each time would generate a matching thirty-one shots upon one another’s goal.

Five minor penalties to the Czech Republic in the first period meant star forward JAROMIR JAGR of Russian club Avangard Omsk saw just 2:08 of ice time from coach VLADIMIR RUZICKA in the opening twenty minutes.

Finland, however, failed to take advantage of its power play opportunities with solid penalty-killing and Vokoun in net carrying the Czechs.

In the second period, the Czech Republic did better to avoid the wrath of the referees and organize more attacks but found Kiprusoff to be in fine form for the Finns.

After 52 minutes of scoreless hockey, Finland finally broke the stalemate after the Czech Republic’s MARTIN ERAT of the Nashville Predators was sent to the penalty box.

Already a man down, the Czechs had their problems compounded in short order.

Critically, Finnish forward NIKLAS HAGMAN of the Calgary Flames was left alone in front when defenseman JANNE NISKALA of Swedish club HC Vastra Frolunda Goteborg let go his slapshot from the Finnish point. Hagman, the son of the first Finn to ever play in the National Hockey League, redirected the puck through Vokoun’s five-hole for the game’s first goal. For Hagman, it marked his third goal in four games for Finland at the 2010 Vancouver Olympics.

The Czech Republic defenseman PAVEL KUBINA of the Atlanta Flames had been at the center of it all. Kubina had lost his helmet in a collision with Hagman, who had started the play with a rush into the Czech zone. Shortly before Niskala discharged his shot, Kubina, realizing he had no headgear, suddenly left Hagman to collect his helmet behind the net.  

“It was tough luck for us, because the defenseman lost his helmet and he had to go pick it up. But, that’s a part of the game,” Jagr later reflected.

In the 59th minute, Finland’s VALTTERI FILPPULA of the Detroit Red Wings effectively killed off the Czechs’ last chance with an empty-net goal seven seconds after Vokoun had gone to the bench for an extra attacker.

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FINLAND 2 – CZECH REPUBLIC 0

Shots-on-goal :  Finland 31 – Czech Republic 31

FIN goals :  Hagman, Filppula

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Finnish winger TEEMU SELANNE (8) wrecks with Czech defenseman MAREK ZIDLICKY (3) in the quarterfinals of the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver. (Gene J. Puskar/AP)

Finnish winger TEEMU SELANNE (8) wrecks with Czech defenseman MAREK ZIDLICKY (3) in the quarterfinals of the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver. (Gene J. Puskar/AP)

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A hard hit from Czech defender JAN HEJDA (35) along the boards dispossesses Finland forward TUOMO RUUTU (15) of both the puck and his balance at the Vancouver Games. (Chris O'Meara/AP)

A hard hit from Czech defender JAN HEJDA (35) along the boards dispossesses Finland forward TUOMO RUUTU (15) of both the puck and his balance at the Vancouver Games. (Chris O'Meara/AP)

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Finland’s ANTTI MIETTINEN outmuscles the Czech Republic’s MARTIN ERAT (91) in his bid for the black disc. Erat collected a critical penalty late in the contest at UBC Thunderbird Arena. (Reuters photo)

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to be continued…

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Sweden 3 – Finland 0 : Match Report

Sweden's LOUI ERIKSSON (91) sweeps around Finland goalkeeper MIIKKA KIPRUSOFF (34) to score his second and the team's third goal of the match between rival Scandinavian powers at the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver. (AP Photo)

Sweden's LOUI ERIKSSON (91) sweeps around Finland goalkeeper MIIKKA KIPRUSOFF (34) to score his second and the team's third goal of the match between rival Scandinavian powers at the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver. (AP Photo)

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The Kingdom of SWEDEN once upon a time, of course, included what is now the nation of FINLAND…

Sweden had only lost two of ten games played all-time against its arch-adversary, Finland, at the Winter Olympic Games heading into the 2010 Vancouver Games and the very last round-robin match of this year’s tournament.

The last meeting at the Winter Games between the two Nordic nations was, of course, for the Olympic gold medal itself at the Turin Games in 2006; Sweden won the closely contested affair 3-2 in Italy. 

Sweden, seeking to defend its Olympic championship in western Canada, took its opportunity with the two-man advantage 6:41 into the contest when LOUI ERIKSSON of the Dallas Stars was able to snap the puck past Finland goalie MIIKKA KIPRUSOFF of the Calgary Flames after finally controlling a pass from NICKLAS BACKSTROM.

Sweden, as always with their patient, defense-first approach, were able to completely control the first period of play, as evidenced by the 16-5 shot advantage they accumulated.

Backstrom, at 22 years of age one of the country’s up-and-coming players on the international stage, bagged an all-important second goal for Sweden with a little than than six minutes left in the middle period. 

Finnish defenseman LASSE KUKKONEN of Russian club Avangard Omsk made a mess of the puck at his feet and fell down, allowing Swedish forward DANIEL SEDIN of the Vancouver Canucks to easily steal the vulcanized rubber. Sedin stepped around Kukkonen and fed Backstrom, who was involved in all of Sweden’s goals on the night, for a chance in the slot that the Washington Capital did not waste.

Another of Sweden’s young stars in the making, the 24-year-old Eriksson, scored again on the power play with less than two minutes left in the second period. Eriksson took a pass from JOHAN FRANZEN of the Detroit Red Wings down low to the left of Kiprusoff and swung around out front to slide the puck past the sprawled Finnish goaltender’s right side into the net. Eriksson’s second goal of the game, his third at the Vancouver Games, left Sweden in total control of the contest at 3-0.

The Finns, meanwhile, had to feel deflated after outshooting the Swedes 10-8 for the second twenty minutes.

Less than a minute before the second intermission, Finland defenseman JONI PITKANEN of the Carolina Hurricanes was given a five-minute major penalty for checking to the head and neck area for his hit on Sweden’s PATRIC HORNQVIST of the Nashville Predators. Pitkanen also received a game misconduct and is automatically suspended for Finland’s next game, which will be in the quarterfinal proper round.

Sweden’s goaltender HENRIK LUNDQVIST of the New York Rangers, a holdover from Turin, was never seriously pressured on a sustained basis and stopped all 20 shots Finland fired his way. Lundqvist has now registered two shutouts in three games played at the 2010 Winter Games. Lundqvist has also turned aside 57 of the 59 shots (96.61 save percentage) he has faced thus far in Vancouver.

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SWEDEN 3 – FINLAND 0

Shots-on-goal :  Sweden 32 – Finland 20

SWE goals :  Eriksson 2, Backstrom

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Two Detroit Red Wings --- Finnish forward VALTTERI FILPPULA (51) and Swedish defenseman NIKLAS KRONWALL (55) --- collide at Vancouver in the battle for Scandinavian supremacy renewed at the 2010 Winter Olympic Games. (AP photo)

Two Detroit Red Wings --- Finnish forward VALTTERI FILPPULA (51) and Swedish defenseman NIKLAS KRONWALL (55) --- collide at Vancouver in the battle for Scandinavian supremacy renewed at the 2010 Winter Olympic Games. (AP photo)

To be continued…

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Finland 5 – Germany 0 : Match Report

TEEMU SELANNE (8) achieves an Olympic milestone with an assist on the second goal by defenseman KIMMO TIMONEN (44). Two power play goals from Timonen helped Finland take down Germany 5-0 at the Winter Olympics in Vancouver. (Jukka Rautio/HHOF-IIHF Images)

TEEMU SELANNE (8) achieves an Olympic milestone with an assist on the second goal by defenseman KIMMO TIMONEN (44). Two power play goals from Timonen helped Finland take down Germany 5-0 at the Winter Olympics in Vancouver. (Jukka Rautio/HHOF-IIHF Images)

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FINLAND used its power play to full advantage and skated away from GERMANY for a 5-0 shutout victory in Group C at the 2010 Winter Olympic Games in Vancouver, Canada.

Finland scored four goals (three by defensemen) with its first five power play opportunities, the first coming with less than four and a half minutes played to start the match. Rearguard JANNE NISKALA of Swedish club HC Vastra Frolunda Goteborg blasted a shot through the pads of German goaltender DIMITRI PAETZOLD which was tapped in by Carolina Hurricane forward TUOMO RUUTU to give Finland a key, early 1-0 lead.

The Germans stayed with Finland for the first period, but, four minutes into the second stanza, Philadelphia Flyers defenseman KIMMO TIMONEN snuck in front from the left point to finish off New York Ranger OLLI JOKINEN’s centering pass. With less than four minutes remaining in the middle period, again on the power play, Timonen wristed a shot from the left point past Paetzold, who was screened perfectly by Jokinen. Assisting on the play was TEEMU SELANNE, who has now totaled 20 goals and 37 points for Finland in 27 Olympic ice hockey contests.

Paetzold, the ERC Ingolstadt netminder and one-time San Jose Sharks farmhand, was not anywhere near as strong for Germany in their second game as current San Jose Sharks deputy goaltender THOMAS GREISS had been against Sweden in the team’s Olympic opener.

Finland’s JARKKO RUUTU of the Ottawa Senators, a one-time Vancouver Canuck, scored his second goal of the 2010 Vancouver Games seven minutes into the final period. Ruutu fired home the rebound after Finland’s all-time scoring leader at major international tournaments, VILLE PELTONEN of Dynamo Minsk, had been stopped in front on the backhand by Paetzold after a fine set-up from NIKO KAPANEN of Ak Bars Kazan.

Former Philadelphia Flyers defenseman JONI PITKANEN, now skating for the Carolina Hurricanes in the NHL, tacked on a final power play goal two minutes later for Finland in a match in which coach JUKKA JALONEN’s side controlled throughout.

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FINLAND 5 – GERMANY 0

Shots-on-goal :  Finland 35 – Germany 24

FIN goals :  Timonen 2, T. Ruutu, J. Ruutu, Pitkanen

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Finnish defenseman SAMI LEPISTO (18) of the Phoenix Coyotes dumps former National Hockey Leaguer JOHN TRIPP (21) of Germany in Vancouver at the 2010 Winter Olympic Games. (Reuters photo)

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Finland forward TUOMO RUUTU (15) is tracked by German defenseman CHRISTIAN EHRHOFF (10) of the Olympic host city’s NHL team, the Vancouver Canucks, at the 2010 Winter Games. (AP photo)

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German defender CHRISTIAN EHRHOFF (10) cannot prevent Finnish forward TUOMO RUUTU (15) from pushing the puck past prone German goalie DIMITRI PAETZOLD (32) to give Finland the first goal of the game at the 2010 Winter Games in Vancouver. (Jukka Rautio/HHOF-IIHF Images)

German defender CHRISTIAN EHRHOFF (10) cannot prevent Finnish forward TUOMO RUUTU (15) from pushing the puck past prone German goalie DIMITRI PAETZOLD (32) to give Finland the first goal of the game at the 2010 Winter Games in Vancouver. (Jukka Rautio/HHOF-IIHF Images)

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Paetzold stretches in vain to stop Ruutu. (Julie Jacobson/AP)

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KIMMO TIMONEN (44) is greeted by TEEMU SELANNE after the first of the Philadelphia Flyers defenseman's two goals on the power play for Finland. German forward T. J. MURLOCK (15) and defenseman CHRISTOPHER SCHMIDT grimace. (Julie Jacobson/AP)

KIMMO TIMONEN (44) is greeted by TEEMU SELANNE after the first of the Philadelphia Flyers defenseman's two goals on the power play for Finland. German forward T. J. MURLOCK (15) and defenseman CHRISTOPHER SCHMIDT grimace. (Julie Jacobson/AP)

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Finland goalie NIKLAS BACKSTROM of the Minnesota Wild makes a glove save admist the gaze of German forward THOMAS GREILINGER (39) of the Hamburg Freezers at the 2010 Vancouver Games. (Reuters photo)

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Late in the first period, Backstrom blocks the bid of German forward MANUEL KLINGE (9) of EC Kassel for what is, perhaps, the Finnish goaltender’s best save of the game. (Reuters photo)

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Finland 5 – Belarus 1 : Match Report

NIKLAS HAGMAN (10), the son of the first Finnish player to ever skate in the National Hockey League, celebrates the first of his two goals with MIKKO KOIVU (9) and JANNE NISKALA (21) during Finland's 5-1 victory over Belarus at the 2010 Vancouver Games. (Jukka Rautio/HHOF-IIHF Images)

NIKLAS HAGMAN (10), the son of the first Finnish player to ever skate in the National Hockey League, celebrates the first of his two goals with MIKKO KOIVU (9) and JANNE NISKALA (21) during Finland's 5-1 victory over Belarus at the 2010 Vancouver Games. (Jukka Rautio/HHOF-IIHF Images)

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Calgary Flames wing NIKLAS HAGMAN had a pair of goals and Minnesota Wild center MIKKO KOIVU contributed three assists as FINLAND easily flew past BELARUS 5-1 in the Group B opener at the ice hockey tournament of the 2010 Winter Olympic Games in Vancouver, Canada.

A little less than three and a half minutes into the contest, New York Ranger OLLI JOKINEN swept home Anaheim Duck SAKU KOIVU’s centering pass for a 1-0 Finnish lead on a pretty power play goal started by Koivu’s club teammate, TEEMU SELANNE. The veteran international Selanne, wearing a shield to protect his fractured jaw, boosted his total at the Olympics to 36 points from 26 career matches at the Winter Games. Selanne is chasing all-time Olympic leader VLASTIMIL BUBNIK of Czechoslovakia and his mark of 39 points (including ‘qualification’ games).

Finland’s dominance was best evidenced by the first period 17-2 shots-on-goal total and, for the contest, coach JUKKA JALONEN’s troops ended with a wide 45-12 margin over Belarus.

Montreal Canadien SERGEI KOSTITSYN gave Belarus some brief hope just twenty-one seconds into the middle period courtesy a giveaway by Finnish defenseman LASSE KUKKONEN of Russian club Avangard Omsk. A quick centering pass from SERGEI DEMAGIN allowed Kostitsyn to cut Finland’s lead to 2-1. Belarus did upset Finland in a shootout at last year’s World Championships in Zurich.

However, a second goal from Hagman on the backhand, a strike from his knees after a fine deke move in front of net, restored a two-goal Finnish advantage late in the second period. Belarus, clearly missing injured NHL players ANDREI KOSTITSYN and MIKHAIL GRABOVSKI, would only muster yet another pair of shots-on-goal for the middle frame despite brave work from VITALI KOVAL in the Belarussian net.

Detroit Red Wing VALTERRI FILPPULA’s rebound goal twenty-three seconds into the third period effectively settled matters although Ottawa Senator JARKKO RUUTU added a fifth goal for Finland with a fabulous deflection seven minutes from full time.

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FINLAND 5 – BELARUS 1

Shots-on-goal :  Finland 45 – Belarus 12

FIN goals :  Hagman 2, Jokinen, Filppula, J. Ruutu

BLR goals :  S. Kostitsyn

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Belarus goalie VITALI KOVAL of Dynamo Minsk keeps his eye on the puck as defenseman NIKOLAI STASENKO (5) of Russian club Amur Khabarovsk sandwichs Finland forward NIKLAS HAGMAN (10) of the Calgary Flames in front of the net at the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver.

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Finnish forward NIKLAS HAGMAN (10) is crunched against the boards by Belarussian defenseman SERGEI KOLOSOV (25), a Detroit Red Wings farmhand with the Grand Rapids Griffins of the American Hockey League, at the Vancouver Games. (Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)

Finnish forward NIKLAS HAGMAN (10) is crunched against the boards by Belarussian defenseman SERGEI KOLOSOV (25), a Detroit Red Wings farmhand with the Grand Rapids Griffins of the American Hockey League, at the Vancouver Games. (Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)

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Veteran Finnish forward OLLI JOKINEN (12) shields the puck from Belarussian forward SERGEI ZADELENOV (22) as he rounds the net at the Winter Olympics. Jokinen, 31, made his 101st appearance for Finland at a major international event in the Group C opener against Belarus at the Vancouver Games. (Bruce Bennett/Getty Images) 

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VITALI KOVAL in the Belarussian net following OLLI JOKINEN’s opening goal for Finland in the first period of the first match of the 2010 Vancouver Games for both nations. (Scott Audette/Reuters)

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MIKKO KOIVU (9), NIKLAS HAGMAN, JANNE NISKALA, and TUOMO RUUTU (15) all congregate after Hagman handed Finland a 2-0 over Belarus lead in the first period of the Group C opening round match in Vancouver. (Bruce Bennett/Getty Images) 

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Belarus forward ALEXEI UGAROV (18) looks to play the puck as rearguard JONI PITKANEN (25) and goaltender MIIKKA KIPRUSOFF (34) defend for Finland at the 2010 Winter Games in Vancouver. (Scott Audette/Reuters)

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The all-time leading scorer at major international events for Belarus, ALEXEI KALYUZHNY of Dynamo Moscow, congratulates SERGEI KOSTITSYN (74) of the Montreal Canadiens on his first career goal at a major international tournament for his country at the Winter Olympics in Vancouver. (Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)

The all-time leading scorer at major international events for Belarus, ALEXEI KALYUZHNY of Dynamo Moscow, congratulates SERGEI KOSTITSYN (74) of the Montreal Canadiens on his first career goal at a major international tournament for his country at the Winter Olympics in Vancouver. (Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)

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Finland’s VALTTERI FILPPULA (51) follows the puck as Belarus goalie VITALI KOVAL completes the save. Chopping the Detroit Red Wing forward’s shin with his stick is Belarussian forward SERGEI DEMAGIN (59) of Russian club Neftekhimik Nizhnekamsk. Filppula scored a third period goal on the rebound in the Group C opener at Vancouver. (Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)

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The lightning quick strike of Filppula (51) beats Koval to open the third period and give Finland a commanding 4-1 lead over Belarus at Canada Hockey Place in Vancouver. (Getty Images photo)

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Finnish goal-scoring forward JARKKO RUUTU (37) of the NHL’s Ottawa Senators is greeted by defenseman LASSE KUKKONEN (5) of Russian club Avangard Omsk and veteran forward VILLE PELTONEN (16) of Belarussian club Dynamo Minsk late in the third period after Ruutu set the final score at 5-1 Finland over Belarus in Vancouver. (Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)

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Finland – Final Olympic Roster

Forward JARKKO IMMONEN of Russian club Ak Bars Kazan will wear # 62 for Finland at this year's Winter Olympic Games in Vancouver, Canada.

Forward JARKKO IMMONEN of Russian club Ak Bars Kazan will wear # 62 for Finland at this year's Winter Olympic Games in Vancouver, Canada.

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FINLAND — final roster for 2010 Vancouver Winter Olympics

Coach — Jukka JALONEN —— Asst — Risto Dufva, Timo Lehkonen

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Goaltenders

  • # 30 — Antero NIITTYMAKI — TAMPA BAY
  • # 33 — Niklas BACKSTROM — MINNESOTA
  • # 34 — Miikka KIPRUSOFF — CALGARY

Defensemen

  • #   5 — Lasse KUKKONEN — Avangard Omsk
  • #   6 — Sami SALO — VANCOUVER
  • # 18 — Sami LEPISTO — PHOENIX
  • # 21 — Janne NISKALA — HC Vastra Frolunda Goteborg
  • # 25 — Joni PITKANEN — CAROLINA
  • # 32 — Toni LYDMAN — BUFFALO
  • # 44 — Kimmo TIMONEN — PHILADELPHIA

Forwards

  • #   8 — Teemu SELANNE — ANAHEIM
  • #   9 — Mikko KOIVU — MINNESOTA
  • # 10 — Niklas HAGMAN — CALGARY
  • # 11 — Saku KOIVU — ANAHEIM
  • # 12 — Olli JOKINEN — NY RANGERS
  • # 15 — Tuomo RUUTU — CAROLINA
  • # 16 — Ville PELTONEN — Dynamo Minsk
  • # 20 — Antti MIETTINEN — MINNESOTA
  • # 26 — Jere LEHTINEN — DALLAS
  • # 37 — Jarkko RUUTU — OTTAWA
  • # 39 — Niko KAPANEN — Ak Bars Kazan
  • # 51 — Valtteri FILPPULA — DETROIT
  • # 62 — Jarkko IMMONEN — Ak Bars Kazan

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TEEMU SELANNE and his fractured jaw have been formally registered for Finland and, thus, Suomi stand pat for coach JUKKA JALONEN with the squad originally selected at the Christmas holiday season.

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Belarus vs Finland – Match History

MIKHAIL GRABOVSKI of Belarus pushes the puck past Finland's PEKKA RINNE (35) in a shootout at the 2009 IIHF World Championships in Zurich, Switzerland. Belarus upended Finland 2-1 in sudden-death. Grabovski of the Toronto Maple Leafs, who fractured his wrist shortly after the New Year, was withdrawn from the Belarus Olympic team for the 2010 Vancouver Games.

MIKHAIL GRABOVSKI of Belarus pushes the puck past Finland's PEKKA RINNE (35) in a shootout at the 2009 IIHF World Championships in Zurich, Switzerland. Belarus upended Finland 2-1 in sudden-death. Grabovski of the Toronto Maple Leafs, who fractured his wrist shortly after the New Year, was withdrawn from the Belarus Olympic team for the 2010 Vancouver Games.

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Match history at major international tournaments :

BELARUS — versus — FINLAND

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First meeting — 12 years ago — 1998 in Basel, Switzerland

Overall record — Finland 4 — Belarus 1

Winter Olympics record — Finland 1 — Belarus 0

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  • 1998 — WC – Basel —————— 5-2 – Finland
  • 1999 — WC – Oslo ——————- 4-1 – Finland
  • 2002 — OG – Salt Lake City ——- 8-1 – Finland
  • 2006 — WC – Riga ——————– 3-0 – Finland
  • 2009 — WC – Zurich —————— 2-1 – Belarus

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Finland : Selanne Fractures Jaw – Fitness In Doubt

TEEMU SELANNE has scored 50 goals for Finland at twelve major international tournaments. The 39-year-old also has totaled 20 goals in 25 games at the Winter Olympics. Selanne's fractured jaw raises questions as to fitness for the 2010 Vancouver Games.

TEEMU SELANNE has scored 50 goals for Finland at twelve major international tournaments. The 39-year-old also has totaled 20 goals in 25 games at the Winter Olympics. Selanne's fractured jaw raises questions as to fitness for the 2010 Vancouver Games.

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The national team of Finland set to compete at the 2010 Winter Olympic Games in Vancouver this February received some bad news with results in the National Hockey League last night.

Right wing TEEMU SELANNE of the Anaheim Mighty Ducks suffered a fractured jaw late in the third period against the Boston Bruins. The veteran Finnish international was struck in the jaw with a puck that first deflected off an opponent’s stick then bounced off the ice upwards with less than nine minutes remaining in the third period at the Honda Center in Anaheim.

http://video.nhl.com/videocenter/console?catid=35&id=57151

Finland’s national team long-time team physician, HARRI HAKKARAINEN, has estimated that Selanne could be out from anywhere from three to six weeks, according to Finnish media outlet YLE. (www.yle.fi/uutiset/news/)

Selanne is Finland’s all-time leading goal scorer at major international tournaments. The 39-year-old veteran had just returned to NHL action after missing 17 games due to a fractured wrist. Selanne has managed 16 goals (23 pts) in 30 games for the Anaheim Ducks this season but this latest setback leaves his participation at the Vancouver Games in jeopardy.

Selanne, who has appeared four times for Finland at the Winter Games, is among the Olympics all-time leading scorers.

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Finns Are Full

SAKU KOIVU (11), left, and TEEMU SELANNE (8), right, are Finland's two top scorers all-time at the Winter Olympic Games. The pair of Anaheim Ducks headline a heavily experienced Finnish squad set to compete at the Winter Games in Vancouver.

SAKU KOIVU (11), left, and TEEMU SELANNE (8), right, are Finland's two top scorers all-time at the Winter Olympic Games. The pair of Anaheim Ducks headline a heavily experienced Finnish squad set to compete at the Winter Games in Vancouver.

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In direct contrast to, say, the Olympic squad selected by the United States, the national team of FINLAND currently rostered to compete this coming February at the 2010 Winter Olympic Games in Vancouver certainly does not lack players with international experience.

Coach JUKKA JALONEN’s Finns, as a matter of fact, have combined contested more than a thousand games at major international ice hockey events :

  • 1,054 — FINLAND
  •    805 — SLOVAKIA
  •    782 — RUSSIA
  •    745 — SWITZERLAND
  •    701 — SWEDEN

The Finns actually total more than two  hundred major international games more than that of the next closest team, Slovakia. Interesting to note, then, that the United States cannot even count 300 man-games total.

Fourteen of Finland’s 23 Vancouver selections have skated on the grand stage that is the Winter Olympic Games before. JERE LEHTINEN and TEEMU SELANNE will don Suomi’s sweater at the Olympics on the fifth occasion later this winter; SAKU KOIVU, VILLE PELTONEN and KIMMO TIMONEN will take Olympic ice for the fourth time. Finland have four others who have already been to the Olympics twice, as well.

Plus, Olympic novices MIIKKA KIPRUSOFF and TUOMO RUUTU do have the benefit of having played at the 2004 World Cup of Hockey, where Finland fell in the final to Canada.

Perhaps indicating depth of experience most effectively is the fact that the likely third-string goalie for the Finns this February, ANTERO NIITTYMAKI of the Tampa Bay Lightning, is no less than the Most Valuable Player from the 2006 Winter Games in Turin.

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