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Finland Routs Japan to Advance to Women's Hockey Final Four

Five points by Petra Nieminen against Japan was the highlight as Finland will now play the United States in the semifinal of the women's Olympic hockey tournament.

Finland is heading back to the women's Olympic hockey semifinals after beating Japan 7-1 on Saturday in Beijing.

The Finns will meet up with the United States on Monday for a rematch of USA's 5-2 win to open up both teams' tournaments last week.

The result was never really in doubt for the Finns, who held a 2-0 lead four minutes into the contest. Petra Nieminen scored her first of three goals at 2:08, with Viivi Vainikka scoring at 4:32 to force Japan to chase early. 

Akane Shiga answered the challenge and score at 15:01 to cut the lead to one, but the luck quickly dried out from there. Michaelle Karvinen and Nieminen scored at 25:01 and 28:29 respectively to take away any Japanese momentum in the early stages of the second period. Nieminen netted her hat-trick goal at 40:18 to really put the game out of reach before Susanna Tapani and Sanni Hakala scored late goals to finish off the fight. 

Nieminen finished with five points total, with five players recording at least two points.

Finland will chase a medal for the third time over the past four tournaments and fourth time overall, with three previous bronze medals to its credit. Finland's worst Olympic finish was a fifth in 2014, with finishes of fourth in 2002 and 2006 being hte only other times it failed to medal.


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