While many fans in the United States will be cheering for their countrymen in ice hockey, fans in the upper peninsula of Michigan will also be cheering for Finland (Suomi).
At the turn of the 20th century many Finns migrated to the Upper Peninsula to work in the copper mines. Up there names like Kukkonen, Timonen, and Filppula are almost as common as Smith and Jones in the lower United States. This one's for the Yoopers.
With wins over Russia and China, Finland’s women qualified for the semifinals. In a physical game Sunday, Finland’s women’s beat Russia 5-1, and on Tuesday they beat China 2-1. China’s goal came in the first period when team captain Wang Linou scored a shorthanded goal. Both of Finland’s goals came in the second. Karoliina Rantamake tied the game and Venla Hovi scored the winning goal.
Finland and the United States women will be unbeaten in 2010 Olympic competition when they meet on February 18 to play for the Group B championship. The United States has a history of beating Finland. In an exhibition game in Colorado Springs just prior to the Olympics, the United States were victorious 5-1. Thursday’s game may have a similar outcome, but look for Finland to give the United States a closer game than either Russia or China managed to do.
Canada and Sweden, who are also unbeaten, will play today for the Group A championship. Canada, Finland, Sweden, and the United States will play in the semifinals. In all likelihood Canada and the United States will play for the gold and silver medals, while Finland and Sweden will battle for the bronze. However in the Olympics, strange things have been known to happen, and the underdog sometimes wins.