Finland Outlasts Czech Republic to Earn Semifinal Date With United States

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February 25, 2010

The Czech Republic finished its quarterfinal matchup with Finland with zero goals and six penalties. Needless to say, the Czechs are on their way home from Vancouver.

Miikka Kiprusoff stood up to all 31 Czech shots, backstopping Finland to a 2-0 victory over the Czechs. Finland will go on to face the United States on Friday in the semifinals.

The game was scoreless after 53 minutes before Niklas Hagman scored on a power play, which came as a result of Martin Erat's clearing a puck over the glass for a delay of game. Valtteri Filppula later added an empty-net goal with 1:35 left in the game.

For the Czechs, Tomas Vokoun was nearly as good as Kiprusoff, making 29 saves on 30 shots. It was a tip-in goal from Hagman that broke the tie and eventually won the game for the Finns. The goal was aided by Czech defenseman Pavel Kubina, who was stuck behind the net, forced to retrieve his helmet. If it were an NHL game, he could continue playing helmet-free, but in the international rules, he either had to retrieve his helmet or head to the bench. Kubina's absence freed some space for Hagman for the goal, but even Hagman wasn't a fan of how the goal was scored.

"It was good for us he lost his helmet, but it's a stupid rule," Hagman told The Associated Press. "I know they want to keep it safe, [but] if you lose a helmet, you should let the guy play. I don't know what they're thinking, but that's the rules and you have to play with them."

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