Canada skates past Germany Korean takes big lead
VANCOUVER, British Columbia — Canada and Russia will play in a superpower showdown that couldn't be much bigger unless it decided a gold medal.
Jarome Iginla scored two goals as a revived Canadian hockey team beat Germany, 8-2, setting up a quarterfinal matchup against Russia today — or four days sooner than predicted.
It's a game hockey fans have craved ever since Russia's Alex Ovechkin and Canada's Sidney Crosby developed into the sport's two top stars for hockey's two fiercest rivals.
"I mean, that's a big rivalry. We all know it," Crosby said. "It's something everyone's been talking about. It's something we thought that sooner or later it was going to happen. I don't think anyone believed it would be in quarterfinals."
Canada prompted the early meeting after being exiled to a qualification game by its surprise 5-3 loss to the U.S. That pushed Canada to change goaltenders from Martin Brodeur to Roberto Luongo, but the switch hardly mattered yesterday as offense-thin Germany had few good scoring chances until the game got out of hand. Luongo also will start against Russia.
The change that made a difference was shifting Eric Staal and Iginla onto Crosby's line, where Iginla scored three goals against Norway. Iginla scored two goals in slightly more than five minutes to make it 4-0 as Canada used its scoring depth and talent to take control against Germany, which was held to five goals while losing all four games in Vancouver.
Crosby also scored, Staal had three assists and Joe Thornton — nicknamed "No Show Joe" for disappearing in Canada's first three games — scored in the first period. And Shea Weber had a goal that left scorch marks in the net.
By late in the third period, Canadian fans began chanting, "We Want Russia, We Want Russia."
"They were just saying what they wanted," Crosby said, smiling. "They are confident."
U.S. PLAYS SWITZERLAND
VANCOUVER, British Columbia — Switzerland won a tighter-than-expected game against Belarus, a 3-2 victory yesterday that sends the Swiss into the men's Olympic hockey quarterfinals against the United States.
Goalie Jonas Hiller of the Anaheim Ducks stopped Sergei Kostitsyn in the third round of the shootout for Switzerland. Hiller made the winning save after the puck slid off the stick of the Montreal Canadiens forward.
Thomas Deruns and Romano Lemm scored shootout goals for Switzerland, which will take on the top-seeded Americans today. The U.S. beat the Swiss, 3-1, in the Olympic opener a week earlier.
Julien Sprunger and former NHL forward Hnat Domenichelli scored power-play goals for Switzerland.
In the other quarterfinal matches today, the Czech Republic will play Finland; and Slovakia will face Sweden.
CANADIANS IN LEAD
WHISTLER, British Columbia — Kaillie Humphries and Heather Moyse of Canada have the lead midway through the Olympic women's bobsled competition, a smidgen ahead of upstarts Erin Pac and Elana Meyers of the United States.
Humphries got Canada-1 down the super-fast track yesterday at the Whistler Sliding Center in 1 minute, 46.20 seconds. That puts her 0.13 seconds ahead of Pac, who was battling a sore hamstring in the days before the Olympics but still found a way to challenge for the lead.
Germany-2, driven by Cathleen Martini, is third.
RUSSIANS WIN EASILY
WHISTLER, British Columbia — Russia has won the women's biathlon relay after Olga Zaitseva easily protected her team's massive lead on the final leg.
Olga Medvedtseva had pulled away for the Russians on the third leg to give Zaitseva a 45-second head start on German rival Andrea Henkel at the last exchange.
Russia finished the 4x6-kilometer race yesterday in 1 hour, 9 minutes, 36.3 seconds. France took the silver after finishing 32.8 seconds behind. Germany settled for bronze, 37.1 seconds back.
CANADIAN TAKES GOLD
WEST VANCOUVER, British Columbia — Ashleigh McIvor has won Canada's sixth gold medal of the Vancouver Games, defeating Hedda Berntsen of Norway in the final of the Olympic debut of women's skicross.
McIvor, who grew up in Whistler and is ranked second in the world, stayed out of trouble on the snowblown course at Cypress Mountain yesterday and won the final going away.
Marion Josserand of France took the bronze.
Ophelie David of France came in as the top-ranked skicrosser in the world but lost her balance on a jump in her quarterfinal and fell hard.
U.S. LOSES TWICE
VANCOUVER, British Columbia — Reigning world champion China converted its final shot of the 10th end for the game-winning point, handing the U.S. women's curlers a 6-5 loss yesterday.
Chinese skip Wang Bingyu's last rock was right on target. Her team bounced back after being thumped by Russia, 7-4, in a shortened nine-end match Monday, sparking Canadian-bred coach Dan Rafael to say afterward he would step down once his contract expires June 30. He also said his team had no passion.
Later, the Americans lost to Switzerland, 10-3, in a shortened match. The Americans finished 2-7.
Skiing: The men's head coach for the U.S. Ski Team has left the Olympics and gone home to Utah for the birth of his second child.
U.S. Ski Team spokesman Doug Haney says coach Sasha Rearick departed after the last U.S. competitor raced in the men's giant slalom yesterday.
Haney says Rearick will try to get back to Whistler in time for the last men's Alpine event, Saturday's slalom.
More bobsled: The Australian team has withdrawn from the four-man bobsled competition at the Vancouver Olympics because two brakemen are injured.
The Australians did not start in two official training runs yesterday at the Whistler Sliding Center.
The team said in a statement that Duncan Pugh still has not recovered from a concussion after his sled overturned in the opening run of the two-man competition, and Duncan Harvey still has back pain from his crash in two-man training.