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Women's Olympic Hockey Recap: Semifinal Matches Set

Canada, USA, Finland and Switzerland will make up the final four teams in the women's Olympic tournament after wins by the the latter two on Saturday in Beijing.
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Switzerland Outlasts Russia in Wild Game

Switzerland is headed to the semifinal after beating Russia 4-2 in a tight affair.

Switzerland will look to replicate its 2014 medal run that saw them take bronze, starting with a meeting against Canada on Monday. Russia fell short after a tough tournament that only saw them win once in Beijing, a 5-2 win over the Swiss on Feb. 3.

The game was tight, with neither team willing to take many risks throughout the first two periods. But at 14:31, Phoebe Staenz broke into the slot and took Alina Muller's pass to beat Valeria Merkusheva down low for the opening goal.

The lead didn't last for long. Three minutes later, Anna Savonina scored after her quick wrister went under the bar quickly and in for the 1-1 goal.

The Swiss found themselves chasing the action early in the third and it nearly ended up hurting them. Anna Shokhina scored what appeared to be a big goal, but the Swiss used a coach's challenge to try and reverse it. The Swiss argued that there should have been a stoppage of play seconds earlier that wasn't called, and the review determined that was correct and took the goal away.

And that's when things got interesting. On the very next play, Keely Moy went the other way and set up Dominque Ruegg on a 2-on-1. Ruegg made no mistake on the one-timer and put the Swiss back in the lead with just over half the period to go.

Russia's attack was furious, and they'd answer back at 56:53. 20-year-old forward Polina Luchnikova would tie the game back up after knocking the puck past Swiss netminder Andrea Brandli to make it 2-2. But a goal 30 seconds later from Muller would put the Swiss back in front, before she scored an empty-netter to finish off the game in spectacular fashion.

Finland Routs Japan

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 the only other times it failed to medal.

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Three Stars

1. Petra Nieminen, FIN: She was unstoppable with five points against Japan.

2. Alina Muller, SUI: Her two goals and an assist made the difference for the Swiss.

3. Michelle Karvinen, FIN: The Finnish veteran looked great with a goal and two assists

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Semifinal Schedule - Feb. 14

Canada vs. Switzerland - 11:10 PM ET
USA vs. Finland - 8:10 AM ET

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