Canada set up US showdown

Host nation squeeze into ice hockey final after 3-2 victory over Slovakia.

    Patrick Marleau keeps his eye on the puck [GALLO/GETTY]

    Canada moved to the top of the Winter Olympic medal table on a day when their men's ice hockey team set up a mouth-watering gold-medal game against arch-rivals United States.

    With two days left of the Olympics, the host nation won two events in short-track speedskating, moving Canada to a grand total of 10 golds, one more than Germany and two more than the United States and Norway, with 13 medal events still to go.

    German skier Maria Riesch grabbed her second gold medal of the Winter Olympics in the slalom on a snowy and foggy Whistler mountain, while her friend Lindsey Vonn went out with a whimper on snow which she said did not suit her.

    Riesch lead the first run and won in a combined time of 1 minute, 42.89 seconds despite driving snow.

    Going for gold

    Patrick Marleau, Brenden Morrow and Ryan Getzlaf scored a goal each as Canada hung on to beat Slovakia 3-2 in the semi-finals of the men's hockey tournament, a day after the women's team beat the United States to take gold.

    Slovakia really made them sweat in the closing 10 minutes of play, and especially the final seconds when they swarmed the Canada net forcing several great saves from the home team's last line of defence.

    "You have to give them a lot of credit, they didn't quit. It was great to see that buzzer go off," Canada forward Jarome Iginla said.

    "It got pretty intense there the last 30 seconds."

    The men's final will be played Sunday and the medals from the game are the last scheduled to be awarded of the games.

    Earlier, the Americans easily beat Finland 6-1, scoring all six goals in the first period and forcing Finland goalie Miikka Kiprusoff out of the game early.

    "We haven't won anything yet,'' United States forward Zach Parise said.

    "We're getting better and that's the most important and rewarding thing.''

    It wasn't all good news for Canada however. Their women's curling team missed out on gold as Sweden edged to a thrilling 7-6 victory. Canada's skip Cheryl Bernard missed her final shot to knock a couple of Swedish stones out with her final effort.

    The 43-year-old darling of curling is so renowned for her accuracy that she is known as "last shot" because she usually makes that one pay with defeat for her opposition.

    "I rubbed it. I missed it by millimetres," a tearful Bernard said.

    China's Wang Meng becomes the second woman to win three golds [GALLO/GETTY]

    Landmark win

    It was also a landmark day for China's short-track skater Wang Meng, who became the second woman at the Games to win three golds with victory in the women's 1000m.

    Chinese women won gold in all four short-track events.

    "I don't feel these three gold medals belong to me. What is important is that the Chinese short track team has won (four) gold medals," said Wang.

    American short-track skater Apolo Anton Ohno's team got a bronze in the men's relay, giving him his third medal of these Games, none of them gold, and his eighth in three Olympics.

    Charles Hamelin earned Canada's ninth gold medal of the 2010 Games by winning the men's 500-metre short track race. He and teammates Olivier Jean, Francois-Louis Tremblay and brother Francois Hamelin added the 10th in the 5,000 relay.

    The most decorated biathlete in history added a sixth gold medal to his career haul.

    Ole Einar Bjoerndalen anchored Norway to a comfortable victory in the men's biathlon relay, winning with teammates Halvard Hanevold, Tarjei Boe and Emil Hegle Svendsen in 1:21:38.1 through steady snowfall.

    "My shooting was fantastic,'' Bjoerndalen said.

    "I went fast and skied great. I'm really satisfied with my race. It was perfect.''

    Austria earned the silver medal and Russia took bronze.

    Bjoerndalen won two silvers and a bronze at the 2006 Turin Games after sweeping all four races in Salt Lake City. He has 11 medals overall, including one gold from the 1998 Nagano Games.

    Despite winning his sixth gold medal, Bjoerndalen still trails Norwegian cross-country skier Bjoern Daehlie's eight.

    In the women's parallel giant slalom, Nicolien Sauerbreij of the Netherlands won gold, defeating Ekaterina Ilyukhina of Russia in the final.

    SOURCE: Agencies


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