Canadian women earn hockey gold against U.S.
VANCOUVER ó Canada kept the medal momentum going Thursday as the womenís hockey team grabbed the gold in a convincing 2-0 win over the United States.
Marie-Philip Poulin of Beauceville, Que., scored twice and goaltender Shannon Szabados of Edmonton ó an Olympic rookie ó made 28 saves to notch the first-ever shutout win in an Olympic womenís hockey final.
The win followed a four-medal day for Canada ó matching the countryís best one-day showing in a Winter Olympics ó and came on the heels of a critical 7-3 win over Russia on the menís side to keep alive the possibility of a sweep of the hockey golds.
Earlier on Thursday, Finland beat Sweden 3-2 in overtime to win the womenís hockey bronze medal.
On Wednesday, Canada won a gold and a silver in womenís two-man bobsled, a silver in the womenís 3,000-metre short-track relay and a bronze for speedskater Clara Hughes in the womenís 5,000 metres, the last race of her career.
Canada has won four Winter Games medals in a single day only four other times: twice in Turin, Italy, in 2006, and twice in Salt Lake City in 2002.
Following Wednesdayís critical win over Russia, the menís hockey team returns to the ice Friday to face Slovakia to determine which team will advance to contend for Olympic gold.
Alexander Medvedev, the president of the Russian domestic league, was still stinging a day after watching his national team get bounced by Canada. He said he was surprised by the poor play of his countrymen.
ìObviously experts and coaches should analyze, but I have feeling the game was lost in the first five minutes,î Medvedev said.
Earlier Thursday, Canadaís already-shining medal hopes in womenís curling got even brighter as Cheryl Bernard moved on to the final by knocking off two-time silver medallist Mirjam Ott of Switzerland 6-5.
Bernard took a 6-4 lead into the 10th end and won when Ott missed on a takeout attempt with her final stone. Ott was able to knock Bernardís rock out of the rings but her shooter sailed too far, forcing the Swiss to settle for one.
Ott looked down at the ice in despair following the miss, while Bernardís rink hugged in celebration.
The 43-year-old from Calgary moves on to the gold medal game Friday against Swedenís Anette Norberg, the defending Olympic champion, who beat China 9-4 in the other semifinal.
Bernard would become the first Canadian woman to win Olympic curling gold since Sandra Schmirler in 1998.
ìIt wasnít a stellar game, but I think the nerves and maybe a little bit of the inexperience kind of crept through,î Bernard said of her rinkís performance.
ìWhat we did do is make the shots when we needed them.î
Kevin Martin, a perfect 9-0 in round-robin competition, advanced to the menís curling final with a 6-3 victory over 24-year-old Niklas Edin of Sweden, who did Martin a favour Wednesday when he knocked off reigning world champion David Murdoch of Britain.
Martinís rink will play Norway in the final on Saturday.
At the womenís free skate, Canada was waiting to see whether Joannie Rochette, the 24-year-old from Ile-Dupas, Que., could deliver another top-tier performance in the wake of the death on the weekend of her 55-year-old-mother, Therese.
After a heart-wrenching, teary-eyed routine in Tuesdayís short program, Rochette was sitting in third place, behind Korean superstar Kim Yu-Na, whose coach is former Canadian figure skater Brian Orser, and Mao Asada of Japan.
At Cypress Mountain, where Canada has had good medal fortunes so far, three Canadians were part of the 12-man field in the menís aerials: Steve Omischl, 30, of North Bay, Ont., and Warren Shouldice, 26, and Kyle Nissen, 30, both of Calgary.