Reuters - Thu, 25 Feb 07:24:00 2010
Finland's men's ice hockey team booked a semi-finals date against the United States when they broke a scoreless struggle against Czech Republic with six minutes left and added another for a 2-0 victory.
Niklas Hagman deflected a shot by Janne Niskala that snuck behind Czech goalie Tomas Vokoun for a powerplay goal that held up as the game winner in a hard-hitting contest marked by some spectacular goaltending.
The Czechs mounted a furious attack for an equaliser around the two-minute mark and pulled Vokoun, who had saved 29 of 30 shots on goal at Thunderbird Arena.
But Finland took almost immediate advantage as they stole the puck and poked it out to Valtteri Filppula, who added an empty net goal with 1:35 left to ice the victory.
"It's a huge win," said Finnish netminder Miikka Kiprusoff, who stopped all 31 shots aimed his way. "We are not the biggest favourites but when you play as a team anything is possible."
The United States advanced to the semi-finals with a 2-0 victory against Switzerland earlier on Wednesday.
Follow the Winter Olympics 24/7 on British Eurosport (Sky 410 / Virgin 521) and Eurosport HD (Sky 412). British Eurosport channels are streamed online via the Eurosport Player.