Archive for OG 2010 Match Reports

Canada 3 – United States 2 : Gold Medal Match Report

The victorious bench clears moments after SIDNEY CROSBY's overtime goal gives Canada a dramatic 3-2 decision over the United States in the Gold Medal Game of the ice hockey tournament at the 2010 Winter Olympics from Vancouver, Canada. (Julie Jacobson/AP)

The victorious bench clears moments after SIDNEY CROSBY's overtime goal gives Canada a dramatic 3-2 decision over the United States in the Gold Medal Game of the ice hockey tournament at the 2010 Winter Olympics from Vancouver, Canada. (Julie Jacobson/AP)

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And so, for the second time the past three Winter Olympiad, the final would again be contested by the two North American rivals. As had been the case at Salt Lake City eight years ago, continental neighbors CANADA and the UNITED STATES would compete in the Gold Medal Game for the right to be crowned the Olympic champion for the 2010. Another genuine border war for the Olympic final - which would make television executives and their sponsors in both participating countries smile, if nothing else.

The United States, despite fielding a young and inexperienced squad, matured quickly in Vancouver and benefited from magnificent, if not timely, goaltending from RYAN MILLER all tournament. Confidence cruised at a comfortable altitude for the U.S. squad, particularly in light of the blitzkrieg of Finland at the semi-final hurdle. And, of course, the Americans had already conquered the Canadians in the round-robin at the Vancouver Games.

For Canada, anything less than a gold medal in ice hockey for an Olympic tournment held in the Great White North will always be viewed by the citizenry as a terrible disappointment.

The loss to the United States, on the heels of a close shave with Switzerland, very much shook a sleeping giant. Canada changed goaltenders after the American misadventure as the future Hall of Fame member MARTIN BRODEUR was replaced by the lone Vancouver Canuck player on the Olympic host nation’s roster, ROBERTO LUONGO. A rout of Germany resulted and was followed by the relatively-easy victory over Russia — Canada had found its form.

Still, in spite of the earlier round-robin setback, Canada continued to hold an overwhelming historical record of 56 wins, 9 losses with four ties against the Americans at major international events entering the Gold Medal Game in Vancouver.

The ingredients for an epic clash had been sufficently collected and the game itself certainly did not disappoint.

to be continued…

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CANADA 3 – UNITED STATES 2 — (overtime)

Shots-on-goal :  Canada 39 – United States 36

CAN goals :  Toews, Perry, Crosby 

USA goals :  Kesler, Parise

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Canada forward SIDNEY CROSBY (87) of the Pittsburgh Penquins and United States defenseman TIM GLEASON (4) of the Carolina Hurricanes cross paths at center ice before the start of the Gold Medal Game of the 2010 Winter Olympics at Canada Hockey Place in Vancouver. (Jamie Squire/Getty Images)

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Professional relationships mean nothing at the Winter Games, particularly with the Olympic gold medal at stake. Here, Canada defenseman DAN BOYLE (22) of the San Jose Sharks is effectively boarded by his National Hockey League teammate, United States forward JOE PAVELSKI, in the Olympic final at Canada Hockey Place in Vancouver. (Harry How/Getty Images)

Professional relationships mean nothing at the Winter Games, particularly with the Olympic gold medal at stake. Here, Canada defenseman DAN BOYLE (22) of the San Jose Sharks is effectively boarded by his National Hockey League teammate, United States forward JOE PAVELSKI, in the Olympic final at Canada Hockey Place in Vancouver. (Harry How/Getty Images)

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Another angle of the American Pavelski (16) pounding the Canadian Boyle (22) into the boards in the Gold Medal Game of the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver. (Julie Jacobson/AP)

Another angle of the American Pavelski (16) pounding the Canadian Boyle (22) into the boards in the Gold Medal Game of the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver. (Julie Jacobson/AP)

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United States forward JOE PAVELSKI (16), a former University of Wisconsin player, upends Canada’s star forward SIDNEY CROSBY (87) in front of the Olympic host nation’s bench at the 2010 Vancouver Games. (Jamie Squire/Getty Images)

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Canada’s DANY HEATLEY (15), a one-time University of Wisconsin Badger, is headed for a seat on the American bench as United States defenseman BROOKS ORPIK (44), a native of San Francisco and a former Boston College player, observes in the Gold Medal Game at Canada Hockey Place. (Reuters photo)

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The Pittsburgh Penquin Orpik (44) remains on hand to ensure the Canadian Heatley enjoys a generous helping of American hospitality on the San Jose Shark’s visit to the United States bench during the Gold Medal Game of the 2010 Winter Olympics from Vancouver. (Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)  

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United States forward RYAN KESLER (17) of the Olympic host city's Vancouver Canucks checks the host nation's star player, SIDNEY CROSBY (87) of the Stanley Cup champion Pittsburgh Penquins, into the boards in a bid for the puck at Canada Hockey Place. Both players would register their names on the scoresheet of the Gold Medal Game at the 2010 Vancouver Winter Olympics. (Matt Slocum/AP)

United States forward RYAN KESLER (17) of the Olympic host city's Vancouver Canucks checks the host nation's star player, SIDNEY CROSBY (87) of the Stanley Cup champion Pittsburgh Penquins, into the boards in a bid for the puck at Canada Hockey Place. Both players would register their names on the scoresheet of the Gold Medal Game at the 2010 Vancouver Winter Olympics. (Matt Slocum/AP)

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Canada were never prepared to have the United States push them around on home ice in the Gold Medal Game from Vancouver. Here, Canada's DANY HEATLEY (15) delivers a forearm to the face of United States defenseman JACK JOHNSON (3) of the Los Angeles Kings at Canada Hockey Place. (Jamie Squire/Getty Images)

Canada were never prepared to have the United States push them around on home ice in the Gold Medal Game from Vancouver. Here, Canada's DANY HEATLEY (15) delivers a forearm to the face of United States defenseman JACK JOHNSON (3) of the Los Angeles Kings at Canada Hockey Place. (Jamie Squire/Getty Images)

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Canada defenseman BRENT SEABROOK (7), Chicago Black Hawks personnel indigenous to British Columbia, shoves United States forward BOBBY RYAN (54) at the boards in the Gold Medal Game at the Vancouver Games. (Jamie Squire/Getty Images) 

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Canada's COREY PERRY (24) of the Anaheim Ducks deals a knock on the back of the neck for United States forward DUSTIN BROWN (32) of the Los Angeles Kings right in front of the American bench during the Gold Medal Game of the Vancouver Games. (Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)

Canada's COREY PERRY (24) of the Anaheim Ducks deals a knock on the back of the neck for United States forward DUSTIN BROWN (32) of the Los Angeles Kings right in front of the American bench during the Gold Medal Game of the Vancouver Games. (Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)

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Canadian forward RYAN GETZLAFF (51) gets the better of American defenseman BRIAN RAFALSKI (28) during the championship match of the 2010 Winter Olympics from Canada Hockey Place. (Harry How/Getty Images)

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The linesmen move to get between Canada’s RYAN GETZLAFF (51) of the Anaheim Ducks and United States defenseman JACK JOHNSON (3) as Getzlaff’s National Hockey League teammate, Canada’s CORREY PERRY (24), ponders the situation. On hand for the U.S. are defenseman BROOKS ORPIK (44) as well as the two New York Rangers, RYAN CALLAHAN (24) and CHRIS DRURY (23), as the rush for gold continues at Canada Hockey Place in Vancouver. (Jamie Squire/Getty Images)

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The on-ice officials at Vancouver were always going to have their hands full maintaining good order with the clash of North American neighbors in the Gold Medal Game at Canada Hockey Place. (Jamie Squire/Getty Images) 

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The United States quite literally came closest to scoring first --- Canada goaltender ROBERTO LUONGO starts the close shave with the save from American forward DUSTIN BROWN (32), who is dumped by his sliding NHL squadmate, defenseman DREW DOUGHTY (8) of the Los Angeles Kings in the Gold Medal Game at the Vancouver Olympics. (Chris O'Meara/AP)

The United States quite literally came closest to scoring first --- Canada goaltender ROBERTO LUONGO starts the close shave with the save from American forward DUSTIN BROWN (32), who is dumped by his sliding NHL squadmate, defenseman DREW DOUGHTY (8) of the Los Angeles Kings in the Gold Medal Game at the Vancouver Olympics. (Chris O'Meara/AP)

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Another angle for the collision of Kings involving the American attacker Brown (32) and the Canadian Doughty (8) at the side of the net as the goaltender Luongo looks to reign in the loose puck. Arriving on the scene is the eventual savior of a dangerous situation, Canadian defenseman DUNCAN KEITH (2), who will soon clear the puck off his own goal line. (Harry How/Getty Images)

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Canada did, in fact, score first — at the far right of the frame, Canadian forward JONATHAN TOEWS (16) of the Chicago Black Hawksv collects a rebound off of the stick of Philadelphia Flyers forward MIKE RICHARDS (18) and tests the skills of United States goalie RYAN MILLER of the Buffalo Sabres (39) at Canada Hockey Place. (Jamie Squire/Getty Images)

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The shot of Toews has beaten Miller and is headed top shelf to give host nation Canada a 1-0 lead in Vancouver. (Jamie Squire/Getty Images) 

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The puck, having beaten Miller for the crucial first goal of the 2010 Gold Medal Game from Vancouver, falls to the ice just inside the post on the right side at Canada Hockey Place. Looking on are United States defenseman ERIK JOHNSON (6) of the St. Louis Blues as well as the American captain, JAMIE LANGENBRUNNER (15) of the New Jersey Devils. (Bruce Bennett/Getty Images) 

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From a Canadian perspective, the Chicago Black Hawk Toews has certainly picked a fine time to find the back of the net for his first goal of the 2010 Vancouver Olympic Games. (Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)

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Toews (16), an NCAA champion at the University of North Dakota in 2006, raises his stick after beating Miller (39), a two-time NCAA titlist at Michigan State University, as the referee moves to signal the opening goal of the Gold Medal Game at the Vancouver Olympics. (Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)

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Struggling to maintain balance, Toews (16) still moves to celebrate his monstrous goal in the Olympic final from Vancouver. (Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)

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Chicago Black Hawks defenseman DUNCAN KEITH (2) taps his NHL teammate, JONATHAN TOEWS (16) on the helmet as an ever-expectant host nation makes some noise following the first goal of the Gold Medal Game at Canada Hockey Place. (Harry How/Getty Images) 

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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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Canada 3 – Slovakia 2 : Match Report

Canada's RYAN GETLZAFF (51) celebrates his goal from his knees while COREY PERRY (24) and BRENDEN MORROW (10) elate in the semifinals of the 2010 Winter Olympics at Vancouver. Getzlaff's goal ultimately proved to be the game-winner. Meanwhile, star forward MARIAN HOSSA (81) skates away for Slovakia. (Ryan Remiorz/The Canadian Press)

Canada's RYAN GETLZAFF (51) celebrates his goal from his knees while COREY PERRY (24) and BRENDEN MORROW (10) elate in the semifinals of the 2010 Winter Olympics at Vancouver. Getzlaff's goal ultimately proved to be the game-winner. Meanwhile, star forward MARIAN HOSSA (81) skates away for Slovakia. (Ryan Remiorz/The Canadian Press)

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Both CANADA and SLOVAKIA had each lost to their neighbors and rival, the United States and the Czech Republic, respectively, in the round-robin at the Vancouver Games and yet recovered to reach the semifinals opposite one another at the 2010 Winter Olympics.

The very first time the two nations ever met, at the 1994 Winter Games in Lillehammer, Norway, the Slovaks actually upset Canada 3-1 in the round-robin on their debut at a major international tournament; that was before the National Hockey League would shut down to so as to let it’s players participate at the Olympics, however. 

Canada obviously had answered some sort of wake-up call after their loss to the Americans. The Canucks proceeded to pound Germany 8-2 then dust Russia 7-3 on their way to the semifinals at Canada Hockey Place. For the first forty or so minutes against Slovakia, Canada continued to be in complete command and on course to fulfill their mission in Vancouver.

Canada struck for two goals in the opening period. Thirteen and a half minutes in, after fine work from San Jose Sharks star DANY HEATLEY, his NHL teammate, PATRICK MARLEAU, tipped the right point shot from Nashville Predators defenseman SHEA WEBER down and past Slovak goaltender JAROSLAV HALAK of the Montreal Canadiens. Halak protested a high stick from Marleau but the goal survived scrutiny. Less than two minutes later, Philadelphia Flyers defenseman CHRIS PRONGER’s wrist shot from the left point was deflected by Dallas Stars forward BRENDEN MORROW past Halak for the 2-0 lead.

Canada controlled play for the first two periods as the Slovaks were content to conservatively absorb pressure and play for the counterattack; the Canadians counted a 21-9 lead in shots-on-goal for the first forty minutes.

Late in the second period, Canada would extend the score to 3-0 on the power play with just over three minutes to go in the second period. Anaheim Ducks forward COREY PERRY let go a wrist shot from the top of the left circle which was halted by Halak, but Perry’s teammate RYAN GETZLAFF, while falling to his knees, backhanded the puck top shelf for what would prove to be a critical goal. Slovak captain and defenseman ZDENO CHARA of the Boston Bruins had been left with both Getzlaff as well as Morrow to contend with in front.

While Canada were appearing in the semifinals for the third time in four Olympic tournaments, the Slovaks, meanwhile, had never progressed this far at the Winter Olympics before. In the final twenty minutes, the Slovaks clearly attempted to make the most of their chance.

A little past the halfway point of the third period, Edmonton Oilers defenseman LUBOMIR VISNOVSKY, on his 76th career appearance at a major international tournament for Slovakia, made an outstanding play to keep the puck in the zone at the Canadian blueline. Visnovsky immediately thereafter rounded Getzlaff and raced down the right wing. The 33-year-old rearguard centered the puck upon reaching the goal line and put Slovakia on the board when the black disc was deflected behind ROBERTO LUONGO of the Vancouver Canucks into Canada’s goal. 

With just under five minutes remaining in the match, Slovakia drew to within one of the host nation. Veteran NHLer RICHARD ZEDNIK of Russian club Torpedo Yaroslavl, after fine work with the puck on the cycle behind the Canadian goal, circled out front for a backhand attempt at Luongo, who made the save. Standing in front, however, was MICHAL HANDZUS of the Los Angeles Kings, who tapped the puck out of mid-air past Luongo into the top-shelf.

A tense finish followed as the Slovaks, who outshot Canada 12-7 in the final period, continued to press their attack.  

With Halak on the bench for an extra skater as well as dogged forechecking, Slovakia spent the entire final minute on the offensive in Canada’s zone. Chicago Black Hawks star MARIAN HOSSA’s wrist shot from the top of the right circle, after working its way through traffic in front, found itself on the stick of PAVEL DEMITRA of the host city Vancouver Canucks at the right side of the net. With Luongo out of position and the net looming large, however, Demitra missed the mark with Slovakia’s last opportunity.

Breathing a collective sigh of relief, Canada advanced to the Gold Medal Match for the second time in three Olympic tournaments.  

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CANADA 3 – SLOVAKIA 2

Shots-on-goal :  Canada 28 – Slovakia 21

CAN goals :  Marleau, Morrow, Getzlaff

SVK goals :  Visnovsky, Handzus

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Slovakia forward TOMAS KOPECKY (82) of the Chicago Black Hawks hammers Canada defenseman CHRIS PRONGER (20) against the boards in the semifinals at the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver. Kopecky scored the game-winning-goal for Slovakia, his first-ever for his country at a major international event, against Sweden in the quarterfinals. (Chris O'Meara/AP)

Slovakia forward TOMAS KOPECKY (82) of the Chicago Black Hawks hammers Canada defenseman CHRIS PRONGER (20) against the boards in the semifinals at the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver. Kopecky scored the game-winning-goal for Slovakia, his first-ever for his country at a major international event, against Sweden in the quarterfinals. (Chris O'Meara/AP)

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Slovakia defenseman MILAN JURCINA (68) of the Columbus Blue Jackets cross-checks Canada's SIDNEY CROSBY (87) of the Stanley Cup champion Pittsburgh Penquins during the Olympic semifinals at Canada Hockey Place. (Julie Jacobson/AP)

Slovakia defenseman MILAN JURCINA (68) of the Columbus Blue Jackets cross-checks Canada's SIDNEY CROSBY (87) of the Stanley Cup champion Pittsburgh Penquins during the Olympic semifinals at Canada Hockey Place. (Julie Jacobson/AP)

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Canada's JAROME IGINLA (12) fishes for the puck in the skates of Slovakia's MARTIN CIBAK (8) as Canada's SHEA WEBER (6) wipes out at the boards in Vancouver. (Matt Slocum/AP)

Canada's JAROME IGINLA (12) fishes for the puck in the skates of Slovakia's MARTIN CIBAK (8) as Canada's SHEA WEBER (6) wipes out at the boards in Vancouver. (Matt Slocum/AP)

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Slovakia's MARTIN CIBAK (8) of Russian club Spartak Moscow checks Canada's game-winning-goal scorer RYAN GETLZAFF (51) against the boards in the Olympic semifinals from Vancouver. Cibak played 154 NHL games in four seasons with the Tampa Bay Lightning organization before signing to play in Sweden to start the 2006-07 schedule. The 29-year-old center joined Spartak this season from Swedish club SK Sodertalje. (Cameron Spencer/Getty Images)

Slovakia's MARTIN CIBAK (8) of Russian club Spartak Moscow checks Canada's game-winning-goal scorer RYAN GETLZAFF (51) against the boards in the Olympic semifinals from Vancouver. Cibak played 154 NHL games in four seasons with the Tampa Bay Lightning organization before signing to play in Sweden to start the 2006-07 schedule. The 29-year-old center joined Spartak this season from Swedish club SK Sodertalje. (Cameron Spencer/Getty Images)

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Slovakia defenseman ANDREJ MESZAROS (14) of the Tampa Bay Lightning mashes Canada forward DANY HEATLEY (15) of the San Jose Sharks into the plexiglass at Canada Hockey Place in Vancouver. Heatley came into the semifinal match second on Canada with four goals after five games at the 2010 Winter Olympics. (Harry How/Getty Images)

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As the ice shavings fly, the Slovak defenseman Jurcina and Canadian forward Heatly converge in a jarring collision along the boards at the Olympic semifinals in Vancouver. (Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)

As the ice shavings fly, the Slovak defenseman Jurcina and Canadian forward Heatly converge in a jarring collision along the boards at the Olympic semifinals in Vancouver. (Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)

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The Slovak defender Jurcina (68) and the Canadian attacker Heatley (15) cross swords, er, ah, sticks along the boards at Canada Hockey Place in Vancouver. (Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)

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Slovakia forward TOMAS KOPECKY (82) absorbs an elbow to the back of the neck from Canada forward BRENDEN MORROW (10) at the advertising-free, muraled boards in the Olympic semifinals from Vancouver. (Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)

Slovakia forward TOMAS KOPECKY (82) absorbs an elbow to the back of the neck from Canada forward BRENDEN MORROW (10) at the advertising-free, muraled boards in the Olympic semifinals from Vancouver. (Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)

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The Canadian Dallas Star Morrow (10) makes sure the Slovakian Chicago Black Hawk Kopecky (82) is contained in the Olympic semifinals at the Vancouver Games. (Cameron Spencer/Getty Images)

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The Slovak forward Kopecky catches a stick in the mid-section from Canada defenseman SHEA WEBER (6) in pursuit of the puck at the 2010 Winter Olympic semifinal match in Vancouver. (Chris O'Meara/AP)

The Slovak forward Kopecky catches a stick in the mid-section from Canada defenseman SHEA WEBER (6) in pursuit of the puck at the 2010 Winter Olympic semifinal match in Vancouver. (Chris O'Meara/AP)

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The Canadian defenseman Weber dumps the Slovakian forward BRANKO RADIVOJEVIC (92) of Russian club Spartak Moscow in the Olympic semifinals at the Vancouver Games. (Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)

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Canada's PATRICK MARLEAU (11) deflects the puck down and through the five-hole of Slovakia goaltender JAROSLAV HALAK to give Canada a 1-0 lead thirteen and a half minutes into the Olympic semifinal in Vancouver. LUBOMIR VISNOVSKY (17) defends in vain for the Slovaks. (Chris O'Meara/AP)

Canada's PATRICK MARLEAU (11) deflects the puck down and through the five-hole of Slovakia goaltender JAROSLAV HALAK to give Canada a 1-0 lead thirteen and a half minutes into the Olympic semifinal in Vancouver. LUBOMIR VISNOVSKY (17) defends in vain for the Slovaks. (Chris O'Meara/AP)

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Slovakia defenseman MARTIN STRBAK (77) follows the black disc through the legs of the goaltender Halak (41) and into the back of the net for the first goal of the game in the Olympic semifinal opposite Canada at Canada Hockey Place. Halak, himself, has his head turned and knows he has been beaten, as well. (Getty Images photo)

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PATRICK MARLEAU (15), at the back of the pack, and the rest of the goal-makers greet Canada's bench after breaking the ice at the 2010 Winter Olympic semifinal match versus Slovakia in Vancouver. DANY HEATLEY (15) had done yeoman work along the boards in the offensive zone; SHEA WEBER (6), leading the procession, generated the point shot for Marleau to deflect. (Gene J. Puskar/AP)

PATRICK MARLEAU (15), at the back of the pack, and the rest of the goal-makers greet Canada's bench after breaking the ice at the 2010 Winter Olympic semifinal match versus Slovakia in Vancouver. DANY HEATLEY (15) had done yeoman work along the boards in the offensive zone; SHEA WEBER (6), leading the procession, generated the point shot for Marleau to deflect. (Gene J. Puskar/AP)

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Canada forward BRENDEN MORROW (10), with one hand on his hockey stick, is already preparing to celebrate his puck passing the right pad of Slovakia goaltender JAROSLAV HALAK (41) just inside the goalpost for a 2-0 Canadian lead in the Olympic semifinals at Canada Hockey Place. (Cameron Spencer/Getty Images)

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The full emotion of the moment manifests itself as Morrow marks his second goal of the 2010 Vancouver Games after deflecting the defenseman Pronger’s wrist shot from the point past Halak of Slovakia. (Bruce Bennett/Getty Images) 

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Morrow pumps his fist and has a shout for Canada as the Montreal Canadiens goaltender Halak (41) and Edmonton Oilers defenseman LUBOMIR VISNOVSKY (17) have discussions for Slovakia after falling behind 2-0 in the Olympic semifinal at Canada Hockey Place in Vancouver. (Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)

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23-year-old Canadian center SIDNEY CROSBY (87) of the NHL champion Pittsburgh Penquins eyes the puck in the midst of the hook from Slovakia’s veteran NHL pivot, 37-year-old JOZEF STUMPEL (15) of Kazakh club Barys Astana, in the semifinals at the Vancouver Games. (Cameron Spencer/Getty Images) 

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Canada’s Crosby (87) shields the puck from the pursuit of Slovakia’s Meszaros (14) in the semifinals at the 2010 Winter Games from Vancouver. (Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)

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Canada's BRENDEN MORROW (10) watches the shot of the not-pictured RYAN GETZLAFF go past the left shoulder of Slovakia goaltender JAROSLAV HALAK with defenseman ZDENO CHARA (33) in front. Getzlaff's late second period goal gave Canada a 3-0 lead in the Olympic semifinal at the Vancouver Games. (Julie Jacobson/AP)

Canada's BRENDEN MORROW (10) watches the shot of the not-pictured RYAN GETZLAFF go past the left shoulder of Slovakia goaltender JAROSLAV HALAK with defenseman ZDENO CHARA (33) in front. Getzlaff's late second period goal gave Canada a 3-0 lead in the Olympic semifinal at the Vancouver Games. (Julie Jacobson/AP)

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The Slovakian goaltender Halak (41) turns his head in time to see the puck cross the plane of the goal as Chara (33) can only watch. Canada's Morrow (10) is already in the midst of raising his stick for celebrations. (Matt Slocum/AP)

The Slovakian goaltender Halak (41) turns his head in time to see the puck cross the plane of the goal as Chara (33) can only watch. Canada's Morrow (10) is already in the midst of raising his stick for celebrations. (Matt Slocum/AP)

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The puck to the right rebounds off the net on its way down to the ice surface at Canada Hockey Place in the semifinals at the 2010 Vancouver Games. (Matt Slocum/AP)

The puck to the right rebounds off the net on its way down to the ice surface at Canada Hockey Place in the semifinals at the 2010 Vancouver Games. (Matt Slocum/AP)

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RYAN GETZLAFF (51), on his knees, raises his stick to signify his backhand shot which has beaten Halak. Getzlaff’s goal, his third of the Olympic tournament, will ultimately provide Canada its passage to the Gold Medal Game at the Winter Games in Vancouver. (Harry How/Getty Images).

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Slovakia were not prepared to go down without a fight in the semifinals at the Winter Olympics in Vancouver. Here, Slovakian forward RICHARD ZEDNIK (20) hits the deck due to the defending of Canadian rearguard DREW DOUGHTY of the Los Angeles Kings. (Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)

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Slovakia forward TOMAS KOPECKY (82) of the Chicago Black Hawks is cross-checked by Canada defenseman CHRIS PRONGER (20) of the Philadelphia Flyers in front of the net at the Winter Games semifinal in Vancouver. Looking around for the puck is Canadian netminder ROBERTO LUONGO of the Olympic host city’s Vancouver Canucks. (Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)

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The Slovak Kopecky cuts off the Canadian defenseman Doughty at the muraled pass in the chase for the puck at the 2010 Vancouver Games from Canada Hockey Place. (Harry How/Getty Images)

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Slovakia forward ZIGMUND PALFFY (24) of HK 36 Skalica, the top point scorer at the 1994 Winter Olympics at Lillehammer, arrives to celebrate the late third period goal of Slovakia defenseman LUBOMIR VISONOVSKY (17) in the semifinals at the 2010 Winter Games from Vancouver. Also on hand to mark Visnovsky's now-even dozen goals for the Slovaks at major international events are JOZEF STUMPEL (15) of Kazakh club Barys Astana, MARTIN STRBAK (77) of Russian club HK MVD Tver and MARCEL HOSSA (91) of Latvian club Dynamo Riga. (Julie Jacobson/AP)

Slovakia forward ZIGMUND PALFFY (24) of HK 36 Skalica, the top point scorer at the 1994 Winter Olympics at Lillehammer, arrives to celebrate the late third period goal of Slovakia defenseman LUBOMIR VISONOVSKY (17) in the semifinals at the 2010 Winter Games from Vancouver. Also on hand to mark Visnovsky's now-even dozen goals for the Slovaks at major international events are JOZEF STUMPEL (15) of Kazakh club Barys Astana, MARTIN STRBAK (77) of Russian club HK MVD Tver and MARCEL HOSSA (91) of Latvian club Dynamo Riga. (Julie Jacobson/AP)

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Slovakia’s RICHARD ZEDNIK (20) circles out from behind the net as Canada goaltender ROBERTO LUONGO (1) and defenseman DUNCAN KEITH (2) concentrate late in the third period of the Olympic semifinals inVancouver. Zednik is about to backhand a shot which Luongo will stop, but not handle the subsequent rebound of. Slovak forward MICHAL HANDZUS has himself at the ready behind Keith in front of goal. (Harry How/Getty Images)

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Slovakia's MICHAL HANDZUS (26), with his hand high, looks down at the puck he just batted out of mid-air past Canada goaltender ROBERTO LUONGO to trim the deficit to a single goal late in the Olympic semifinal match at Canada Hockey Place. PATRICK MARLEAU (11), DUNCAN KEITH (2) and PATRICE BERGERON (37) are the Canadians who cannot help the seated Luongo. (Julie Jacobson/AP)

Slovakia's MICHAL HANDZUS (26), with his hand high, looks down at the puck he just batted out of mid-air past Canada goaltender ROBERTO LUONGO to trim the deficit to a single goal late in the Olympic semifinal match at Canada Hockey Place. PATRICK MARLEAU (11), DUNCAN KEITH (2) and PATRICE BERGERON (37) are the Canadians who cannot help the seated Luongo. (Julie Jacobson/AP)

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Shortly after narrowing Slovakia’s deficit to one, a hollering Handzus (26) is about to receive adulations from defenseman ZDENO CHARA (33) as well as forwards RICHARD ZEDNIK (20) and MIROSLAV SATAN (18) late in the third period of the 2010 Winter Olympic semifinal from Vancouver. (Cameron Spencer/Getty Images)

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Canada goaltender ROBERTO LUONGO (1) of the Olympic host city’s National Hockey League Vancouver Canucks lifts his stick high at the final horn of the Winter Games semifinal match at Canada Hockey Place. The Slovaks sustained a desperate attack in the final minute and squandered one final chance when Luongo’s NHL teammate, PAVOL DEMITRA (38), missed a wide open net. Here, Demitra is just behind Canadian defenseman DREW DOUGHTY (8) of the Los Angeles Kings. (Harry How/Getty Images)

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Teammates with the Pittsburgh Penquins two springs ago, adversaries in the Stanley Cup finals last season — Slovakia’s MARIAN HOSSA (81) and Canada’s SIDNEY CROSBY (87) meet again in the hand-shake line at the conclusion of the semifinals at the 2010 Olympic Games from Vancouver. (Cameron Spencer/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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Slovakia 4 – Sweden 3 : Match Report

Slovakia's TOMAS KOPECKY (82) scores the goal that knocks out defending champion Sweden sends Slovakia to the semifinals of the ice hockey tournament at the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver. Powerless to prevent Kopecky are Swedish defenseman NIKLAS LIDSTROM (5) and goaltender HENRIK LUNDQVIST. (Matt Slocum/AP)

Slovakia's TOMAS KOPECKY (82) scores the goal that knocks out defending champion Sweden sends Slovakia to the semifinals of the ice hockey tournament at the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver. Powerless to prevent Kopecky are Swedish defenseman NIKLAS LIDSTROM (5) and goaltender HENRIK LUNDQVIST. (Matt Slocum/AP)

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For all the skill and experience found on the rosters of both SLOVAKIA and SWEDEN, not to mention ice hockey history between the two nations involved, it was only appropriate that the very last quarterfinal match at the 2010 Winter Games in Vancouver should feature a lively and entertaining affair settled by a solitary score.

Following a scoreless and evenly-played first period, the Slovaks drew first blood after the defending Olympic champions took a penalty for too many players seven and a half minutes into the second session.

Capitalizing on the power play, Slovakia’s Chicago Black Hawks star MARIAN HOSSA handed MARIAN GABORIK a perfect, cross-ice pass for the New York Rangers star to one-time past his National Hockey League teammate, HENRIK LUNDQVIST, in the Swedish goal.  

Less than a minute later, the Slovaks surprisingly scored yet again.

Intercepting a pass in his own defensive zone, Slovakia’s aging ZIGMUND PALFFY of HK 36 Skalica sent Torpedo Yaroslavl’s RICHARD ZEDNIK away on a rush. Palffy paid the price and received a devastating hit, but the former NHL scoring star’s quick pass had been huge. The NHL veteran Zednik sped into the Swedish zone down the right, drew the lone defender and cut the puck across for defenseman ANDREJ SEKERA of the Buffalo Sabres to shoot past Lundqvist. 

Sweden held a wide 12-4 lead in shots-on-goal for the second period and would respond, however, with the leadership of a veteran.

The 37-year-old, two-time Olympic gold medalist PETER FORSBERG of Mo Do Ornskoldsvik, with a backhand flip from behind the goal, found PATRIC HORNQVIST of the Nashville Preadators in front. With a backhand of his own past Slovak goaltender JAROSLAV HALAK of the Montreal Canadiens, the 22-year-old Hornqvist halfed Slovakia’s lead.

Almost immediately thereafter, with Forsberg steaming for the net, Detroit Red Wings star HENRIK ZETTERBERG had his centering pass deflect off Slovak defenseman MILAN JURCINA in front past Halak to pull Sweden level at 2-2 with five and a half minutes remaining until the second intermission.

Unfortunately for Sweden, Atlanta Thrashers defenseman TOBIAS ENSTROM took a penalty for tripping with less than two minutes to go and Slovakia promptly scored. PAVOL DEMITRA of the Olympic host city’s Vancouver Canucks, who produced the shootout winner for Slovakia versus Russia earlier in the tournament, struck again. The 35-year-old wing, who has missed most of this NHL season due to injury, cannoned a slapshot from the top of the left face-off circle over Lundqvist’s shoulder to send Slovakia back in front just before the break.

Nine minutes into the final frame, Slovakia again went up by two thanks to a goal from the unlikely TOMAS KOPECKY of the Chicago Black Hawks. Demitra and Marian Hossa broke into the zone on a two-one-one break; Kopecky slid his Chicago teammate’s rebound past the prone Lundqvist for his first goal at the Vancouver Games. Kopecky has four goals in 58 NHL games for the Black Hawks this winter.

Veteran DANIEL ALFREDSSON of the Ottawa Senators managed to draw the Swedes within one less than a minute later to set the stage for a tense and dramatic finish as Sweden pressed their attack. Indeed, the Swedes posted a lopsided 29-14 shots-on-goal total for the contest. But, Halak and the Slovaks were able to hang on for the victory and a place in the semifinals at the 2010 Winter Olympics.

Slovakia, who failed to get past the preliminary stage at both the 1998 Nagano Games and the 2002 Salt Lake City Games, have reached the medal round for the very first time in Vancouver.

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SLOVAKIA 4 – SWEDEN 3

Shots-on-goal :  Sweden 29 – Slovakia 14

SVK goals :  Gaborik, Sekera, Demitra, Kopecky

SWE goals :  Hornqvist, Zetterberg, Alfredsson

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Slovak defenseman MILAN JURCINA (68) deposits Swedish forward SAMUEL PAHLSSON into Sweden’s bench as Pahlsson’s teammates scramble to protect themselves. Jurcina, who started the current 2009-10 season with the Washington Capitals, and Pahlsson are teammates with the Columbus Blue Jackets of the National Hockey League. (Cameron Spencer/Getty Images)

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Slovakia defender ANDREJ MESZAROS (14) of the Tampa Lightning bops Sweden forward HENRIK ZETTERBERG (40) of the Detroit Red Wings at the Slovak bench in the Olympic quarterfinal match at Canada Hockey Place. (Cameron Spencer/Getty Images)  

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Slovakia defenseman and quarterfinal goal-scorer ANDREJ SEKERA (44) of the Buffalo Sabres squeezes Swedish center NICKLAS BACKSTROM of the Washington Capitals against the boards in Vancouver. (Cameron Spencer/Getty Images)

Slovakia defenseman and quarterfinal goal-scorer ANDREJ SEKERA (44) of the Buffalo Sabres squeezes Swedish center NICKLAS BACKSTROM of the Washington Capitals against the boards in Vancouver. (Cameron Spencer/Getty Images)

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to be continued…

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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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Canada 7 – Russia 3 : Match Report

Russia's VIKTOR KOZLOV (52) skates away as Canada's RYAN GETZLAFF (51) gets a hug from DAN BOYLE (22) while Corey PERRY (24) and DUNCAN KEITH (2) look to join the celebration. Getzlaff's goal just 2:21 into the game sparked Canada to a surprisingly-simple 7-3 quarterfinal romp over Russia at the 2010 Winter Games in Vancouver. (Matthew Manor/HHOF-IIHF Images)

Russia's VIKTOR KOZLOV (52) skates away as Canada's RYAN GETZLAFF (51) gets a hug from DAN BOYLE (22) while Corey PERRY (24) and DUNCAN KEITH (2) look to join the celebration. Getzlaff's goal just 2:21 into the game sparked Canada to a surprisingly-simple 7-3 quarterfinal romp over Russia at the 2010 Winter Games in Vancouver. (Matthew Manor/HHOF-IIHF Images)

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As was the case in Turin four years earlier, historical hockey rivals CANADA and RUSSIA were drawn to meet in the quarterfinal round at the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver.

The results this time around were quite different, indeed, if not downright shocking. In fact, by the time Canadian defenseman SHEA WEBER of the Nashville Predators had scored to open up a 6-1 lead four minutes into the second period, all this author had to say about the proceedings in Vancover was — Oh! Canada!

RYAN GETZLAFF of the Anaheim Ducks triggered the offensive outburst with a goal for Canada just two and a half minutes into the game. San Jose Sharks rearguard DAN BOYLE, with a rush down the left that started in his own defensive zone, provided the crossing pass which left Getzlaff a gaping net to shoot at.  

Ten minutes later, with the man-advantage, Boyle circled in his own end to start a Canadian play which culminated with a wrist shot from the top of the left circle by the San Jose defender that beat his National Hockey League teammate, Russian goaltender EVGENY NABOKOV, to double Canada’s lead.

Less than sixty seconds following Boyle’s goal, RICK NASH of the Columbus Blue Jackets changed the scoreboard to show 3-0 for Canada with not even thirteen minutes of the match played.

Canada’s JONATHAN TOEWS of the Chicago Black Hawks and Philadelphia Flyers forward MIKE RICHARDS combined to strip Pittsburgh Penquins star forward EVGENY MALKIN of the puck at the Russian point. A smart pass from Richards sent Toews off on the counter, allowing the streaking Nash to put a puck over the stacked pads of Nabokov.

Russia did attempt to revive themselves shortly thereafter. Defenseman DMITRI KALININ of Salavat Yulayev Ufa connected with a wrist shot from the left point past Canada’s starting goaltender, ROBERTO LUONGO of the Olympic host city’s Vancouver Canucks, roughly fourteen and a half minutes in. For Kalinin, the score was the product of what would be the Russian rearguard’s only official shot-on-goal the whole of the 2010 Winter Games tournament.

But, whatever momentum Russia may have gained was lost on account of Canada’s BRENDEN MORROW with under two minutes to go in the opening period. At equal strength, the Dallas Stars forward secured a puck from Boyle along the boards behind the goalline and promptly skated out in front unchallenged. A backhander underneath Nabokov gave Canada a commanding 4-1 lead. 

The situation did not improve for Russia to start the second period. Three minutes after the intermission break, Canada became the beneficiaries of good fortune when COREY PERRY of the Anaheim Ducks found himself with the puck and a wide open net. Perry’s NHL teammate, Getzlaff, had gotten his wrist shot on the rush into the offensive zone deflected by Russian defenseman ILYA NIKULIN of Ak Bars Kazan with Nabokov out to cut the angle.

Canada’s goal from Weber less than sixty seconds after Perry scored finally sent the San Jose Sharks goaltender to the showers for Russia. For Nabokov, the six goals allowed (on 23 shots) in twenty-four minutes at Vancouver stood in stark contrast to the shutout the 34-year-old had served up for Russia against Canada four years earlier in Italy. And so, Phoenix Coyotes goaltender ILYA BRYZGALOV was sent out by Russian coach VYACHESLAV BYKOV. 

A quick goal from MAXIM AFINOGENOV of the Atlanta Thrashers might have augmented any criticism of a belated decision by Bykov, but a second goal from Perry nine minutes into the second period certainly confirmed Canadian overall superiority on the night at Canada Hockey Place in Vancouver.

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CANADA 7 – RUSSIA 3

Shots-on-goal :  Canada 42 – Russia 28

CAN goals :  Perry 2, Getzlaff, Boyle, Nash, Morrow, Weber

RUS goals:  Kalinin, Afinogenov, Gonchar

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Russian defenseman ANTON VOLCHENKOV (6) is double-teamed by Canada's BRENDEN MORROW (10) and COREY PERRY (24) along the boards at the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver. (Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images)

Russian defenseman ANTON VOLCHENKOV (6) is double-teamed by Canada's BRENDEN MORROW (10) and COREY PERRY (24) along the boards at the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver. (Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images)

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Morrow does not make out as well as Volchenkov and heads for the ice surface at Canada Hockey Place in Vancouver. (Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images)

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to be continued…

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United States 2 – Switzerland 0 : Match Report

United States forward ZACH PARISE (9) pops the puck past prone Swiss goalie JONAS HILLER into the net to break a third-period scoreless tie in the quarterfinals at the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver. Looking on are Swiss forward THIERRY PATERLINI (23) and captain MARK STREIT (7) as well as United States attackers JAMIE LANGENBRUNNER (15) ane PAUL STASTNY (26). (Jukka Rautio/HHOF-IIHF Images)

United States forward ZACH PARISE (9) pops the puck past prone Swiss goalie JONAS HILLER into the net to break a third-period scoreless tie in the quarterfinals at the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver. Looking on are Swiss forward THIERRY PATERLINI (23) and captain MARK STREIT (7) as well as United States attackers JAMIE LANGENBRUNNER (15) ane PAUL STASTNY (26). (Jukka Rautio/HHOF-IIHF Images)

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It is never easy to defeat the same team twice at any tournament, let alone in the pressure-packed enviroment that is the Winter Olympics…

The UNITED STATES, the top overall seed following group round-robin play at the 2010 Games, would confirm that theory still holds water as they confronted SWITZERLAND in the quarterfinals at Canada Hockey Place in Vancouver.

Goaltender JONAS HILLER of the Anaheim Ducks was not at his best and had allowed three goals on 24 shots for Switzerland in the Group A round-robin game against the United States which had opened this year’s Olympic ice hockey proceedings. 

However, provided a second bite at the apple, Hiller would bring his A game for the re-match with the Americans at the quarterfinal hurdle. Which was exactly the sort of quality that Switzerland coach RALPH KRUEGER needed to receive from one of the only two National Hockey League players on his Olympic side. With Hiller in high gear, the Swiss were adequtely prepared to give the Americans a game.

To say Hiller was huge in the quarterfinals would be an understatement; the Anaheim Duck denied eighteen American shots in the first period alone. Altogether, the United States unleashed 32 shots at the Swiss goal the first two periods as compared to the eight amassed by Switzerland against American netminder RYAN MILLER of the Buffalo Sabres. And yet, as the two teams skated out for the final period of play, the score still stood where it had when the game’s first puck had originally been dropped.

While Switzerland certainly generated a few opportunities of their own on the counterattack, they were also a bit lucky, as well. United States forward PHIL KESSEL of the Toronto Maple Leafs clanked Swiss iron in the second session. And, an apparent goal at the end of the period was waved off by the referees after further review.

Hiller had made a save off a deflection from the stick of United States forward PATRICK KANE of the Chicago Black Hawks at the side of his net. With the puck in mid-air, the Swiss netminder attempted to swat the black disc to safety with his goalstick. Instead, the biscuit dropped behind Hiller and into the back of Switzerland’s net; replays clearly showed the period had expired.

“It was good to go into the (second) intermission with a 0-0 tie,” Swiss defenseman YANNICK WEBER, a farmhand in the Montreal Canadiens organization with the American Hockey League’s Hamilton Bulldogs, offered after the match. “I think it gave us some confidence.”

But, when defenseman PHILIPPE FURRER of SC Bern was sent off for tripping 1:56 into the final frame, it proved to be a penalty too far for Switzerland.

A dozen seconds had barely been counted off the clock when, on the ensuing power play, United States forward ZACH PARISE of the New Jersey Devils deflected Detroit Red Wings defenseman BRIAN RAFALSKI’s shot up and over Hiller’s glove to give the Americans a 1-0 advantage. 

The Swiss actually played their best hockey of the game in the final twenty minutes and were extremely unfortunate to not draw level shortly after the United States went to the lead. 33-year-old SANDY JEANNIN of HC Fribourg-Gotteron, appearing in his 89th career game for Switzerland at a major international tournament, created the chance. Receiving a pass in the left face-off circle, Jeannin drew Miller out of goal and beat the U.S. goaltender with a wrister, but his shot caught the far post.

The Swiss exchanged Hiller for an extra-attacker with roughly two minutes remaining, but Parise’s empty net goal twelve seconds from time provided clear passage for the United States into the semifinals at the 2010 Vancouver Games.

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UNITED STATES 2 – SWITZERLAND 0

Shots-on-goal :  United States 44 – Switzerland 19

USA goals :  Parise 2

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United States defenseman BRIAN RAFALSKI (28) sends Switzerland's ROMAN WICK (14) face-first into the boards at the 2010 Winter Olympic Games in Vancouver. (Julie Jacobson/AP)

United States defenseman BRIAN RAFALSKI (28) sends Switzerland's ROMAN WICK (14) face-first into the boards at the 2010 Winter Olympic Games in Vancouver. (Julie Jacobson/AP)

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United States forward PAUL STASTNY (26) of the Colorado Avalanche slams Switzerland defenseman and captain MARK STREIT of the New York Islanders into the boards at the Vancouver Games. (Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)

United States forward PAUL STASTNY (26) of the Colorado Avalanche slams Switzerland defenseman and captain MARK STREIT of the New York Islanders into the boards at the Vancouver Games. (Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)

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United States defenseman BRIAN RAFALSKI (28) of the Detroit Red Wings derails Switzerland forward THOMAS DERUNS (18) of HC Servette Geneva at the 2010 Winter Olympics. (Matt Slocum/AP)

United States defenseman BRIAN RAFALSKI (28) of the Detroit Red Wings derails Switzerland forward THOMAS DERUNS (18) of HC Servette Geneva at the 2010 Winter Olympics. (Matt Slocum/AP)

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visuals to be continued…

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Slovakia 4 – Norway 3 : Match Report

Boston Bruins forward MIROSLAV SATAN (18) receives spoils from Slovakia teammates TOMAS KOPECKY and RICHARD ZEDNIK (left) after Satan's third period goal versus Norway in the qualification round of the 2010 Winter Olympics. Norwegian defenseman JONAS HOLOS observes. Slovakia narrowly defeated a stubborn Norway 4-3 to earn a place in the quarterfinals at the Vancouver Games. (Julie Jacobson/AP photo)

Boston Bruins forward MIROSLAV SATAN (18) receives spoils from Slovakia teammates TOMAS KOPECKY and RICHARD ZEDNIK (left) after Satan's third period goal versus Norway in the qualification round of the 2010 Winter Olympics. Norwegian defenseman JONAS HOLOS observes. Slovakia narrowly defeated a stubborn Norway 4-3 to earn a place in the quarterfinals at the Vancouver Games. (Julie Jacobson/AP photo)

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Another affair which might have appeared to be a mismatch produces another outstanding evening of late-night entertainment from the 2010 Winter Olympics, this the qualification round match featuring NORWAY and SLOVAKIA from Vancouver.

As one would have expected, Slovakia struck first seven minutes into the match. Parked in front on the power play, Los Angeles Kings center MICHAL HANDZUS hacked home the rebound of New York Rangers wing MARIAN GABORIK’s wrist shot from the right face-off circle for the always-important first goal of the game.

Norway defender OLE KRISTIAN TOLLEFSEN of the Detroit Red Wings had been assessed a five-minute major for checking to the head and neck area as well as the automatic game misconduct with accompanying ejection from the match for his shot on Slovakia’s LUBOS BARTECKO of Swedish club BK Farjestad Karlstad.

Less than three minutes later, still with the man-advantage, Slovakia doubled the margin when Gaborik re-directed the shot/pass of the Vancouver Canucks’ PAVOL DEMITRA past PAL GROTNES of IF Stjernen Fredrikstad in the Norwegian goal.

Norway were not prepared to just pack it in, nevertheless, despite being outshot by the Slovaks 21-2 for the first period.

With roughly two minutes to go in the opening session, Slovakia’s multi-millionaire MARIAN HOSSA of the Chicago Black Hawks raced down the left wing into the Norwegian zone but was dispossesed of the disc by defenseman JONAS HOLOS of Swedish club BK Farjestad Karlstad. Holos’ clearance was ultimately chased down by pint-sized MATS ZUCCARELLO AASEN of Swedish side Mo Do Ornskoldsvik just inside the Slovak blueline. Aasen attempted to center for the on-rushing PATRICK THORESEN of Russian club Salavat Yulayev Ufa, but this was blocked by Slovak rearguard MILAN JURCINA of the Columbus Blue Jackets.

The biscuit bounced straight back to Aasen, however, and the 22-year-old wing promptly whipped a wrist shot past Slovak goaltender JAROSLAV HALAK of the Montreal Canadiens to give some spark to Norway.

Slovakia responded immediately with their third power play goal of the period forty-six seconds thereafter. RICHARD ZEDNIK of Russian club Torpedo Yaroslavl, again, unhindered in front of net, snapped the centering pass of Kazakh club Barys Astana’s Josef STUMPEL past Grotnes for another two-goal Slovak lead. 

Seven minutes into the second period, the Norwegians again whittled the lead to one. Hat trick hero TORE VIKINGSTAD of German club EC Hannover one-timed a smart pass from Thoresen behind Halak; Norway enjoyed their most productive period in the middle frame by firing off ten shots-on-goal.

Hard work and hustle, quite literally, would pay off in the end. Accepting a pass from Aasen along the right boards at the goal line, ANDERS BASTIANSEN of Swedish club BK Farjestad Karlstad circled around and from the face-off circle fired a wrister past the hapless Halak with exactly one second to go in the second period for a dramatic 3-3 equalizer.

An overwhelming 40-19 disparity in shots for the game would finally catch up with the Norwegians in the last twenty minutes; ironically, Norway outshot Slovakia seven to six in the third period.

Nearly nine minutes into the final frame, Slovakia’s MIROSLAV SATAN settled matters for good with his second goal in as many contests at the Vancouver Games. Edmonton Oilers defenseman LUBOMIR VISOVSKY, on the attack behind the Norwegian net, centered for Satan, who was out of contract all season until the Boston Bruins signed the 35-year-old experienced NHL veteran just after the New Year. 

Halak held the fort the rest of the way — and Slovakia survived.

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SLOVAKIA 4 – NORWAY 3

Shots-on-goal :  Slovakia 40 – Norway 19

SVK goals :  Handzus, Gaborik, Zednik, Satan

NOR goals :  Zuccarello Aasen, Vikingstad, Bastiansen

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to be continued…

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Czech Republic 3 – Latvia 2 : Match Report

Boston Bruins forward DAVID KREJCI (46) scores 5:10 into overtime to lift the Czech Republic past a plucky Latvia 3-2 in the qualification round at the 2010 Winter Olympics. The Czechs move on to face Finland in the quarterfinals at the 2010 Vancouver Games. (Chris O'Meara/AP photo)

Boston Bruins forward DAVID KREJCI (46) scores 5:10 into overtime to lift the Czech Republic past a plucky Latvia 3-2 in the qualification round at the 2010 Winter Olympics. The Czechs move on to face Finland in the quarterfinals at the 2010 Vancouver Games. (Chris O'Meara/AP photo)

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Two goals eleven minutes and six seconds into the contest seemed to send some sort of signal the CZECH REPUBLIC were in for a training game against LATVIA in the qualification round at the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver.

First, with the Czechs on the power play, TOMAS ROLINEK of Russian club Metallurg Magnitogorsk backhanded the rebound from Ottawa Senators defenseman FILIP KUBA’s point shot behind Latvia goaltender EDGARS MASALSKIS of Dynamo Riga just before the six minute mark.

Then, TOMAS FLEISCHMANN of the Washington Capitals wristed a shot from the slot past Masalskis after a fine setup from Boston Bruins forward DAVID KREJCI, who had taken the puck after fine board work from teammate ROMAN CERVENKA of Slavia Prague behind the net.

But Masalskis, who would finish the game with 48 saves, immediately thereafter slammed the door on the Czech Republic for the remainder of regulation play in what was easily the 29-year-old veteran Latvian international’s best effort at the 2010 Vancouver Games.

Meanwhile, the scrappy but heavily outshot Latvians continued to skate and play for a break.

Such opportunity arrived with eight minutes left in the match when a centered puck from Lativa’s ALEKSANDRS NIZIVIJS skipped to MARTINS CIPULIS in the slot. The 29-year-old Dynamo Riga forward quickly whacked the disc past Czech goaltender TOMAS VOKOUN of the Florida Panthers to cut the Latvian deficit in half.

Suitably energized and the beneficiaries of a bit of good fortune, Latvia pulled level tunate bounce with less than four minutes remaining in regulation. The well-traveled ARMANDS BERZINS, a Minnesota Wild draft pick, saw his one-timer from the slot miss the net but bounce off the boards straight to Dynamo Riga’s MIKELIS REDLIHS at the side of the net. The 25-year-old forward was able to bundle the biscuit into the back of the net and lift Latvia to a remarkable 2-2 draw.

And, thus, extra time was required.

A little more than halfway through the overtime session, the Czech Republic booked their passage into the quarterfinal round. Krejci collected a drop pass from Fleischmann in the offensive zone and, after faking the slapshot, cut to his right to shoot between Masalskis’ legs for the game-winning-goal.

The Czechs could breathe a collective sigh of relief. 

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CZECH REPUBLIC 3 – LATVIA 2 — (overtime)

Shots-on-goal :  Czech Republic 50 – Latvia 26

CZE goals :  Rolinek, Fleischmann

LAT goals :  Cipulis, M. Redlihs

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Two Kontinental Hockey Leaguers converge — Lativa’s GINTS MEIJA (87) of Dynamo Riga mixes with the Czech Republic’s TOMAS ROLINEK of Russian club Metallurg Magnitogorsk. (Harry How/Getty Images)

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