There was no shortage of drama on Day 14 at the 2014 Winter Olympic in Sochi as two hard-fought men's hockey semifinals highlighted Friday's thrilling action.
Hockey superpowers Canada and Sweden advanced to Sunday's gold-medal game at the expense of Team USA and Finland, but the Americans can take solace in the fact that the U.S. leads the overall medal count with just two days of events left.
With 27 total medals through the first two weeks of competition, Team USA will head into the final weekend with a one-medal lead over host nation Russia a and three-medal lead over third-place Canada.
With Day 15 right around the corner, let's get you up to speed on what you may have missed on Friday.
|Alpine Skiing||Women's Slalom||Mikaela Shiffrin (USA)||Marlies Schild (AUT)||Kathrin Zettel (AUT)|
|Biathlon||Women's 4x6km Relay||Ukraine||Russia||Norway|
|Curling||Men's Curling||Canada||Great Britain||Sweden|
|Freestyle Skiing||Ladies' Ski Cross||Marielle Thompson (CAN)||Kelsey Serwa (CAN)||Anna Holmlund (SWE)|
|Speedskating||Men's 500m||Victor An (RUS)||Dajing Wu (CHN)||Charle Cournoyer (CAN)|
|Speedskating||Ladies' 1,000m||Seung-Hi Park (KOR)||Kexin Fan (CHN)||Suk Hee Shim (KOR)|
|Speedskating||Men's 5,000m Relay||Russia||United States||China|
Canada, Sweden Prevail
Two of the globe's top hockey nations will compete for the gold on Sunday afternoon in Sochi after surviving dramatic one-goal semifinal clashes on Friday.
Canada maintained its edge over Team USA with a 1-0 shutout win in Bolshoy Ice Dome. Hours earlier it was Sweden knocking off Finland 2-1 on the strength of Henrik Lundqvist's 25 saves.
ESPN Stats & Info breaks down the history between these two Olympic rivals.
Sweden & Canada will play for men's hockey gold. Last Olympic meeting was 2002 (Sweden won). Last played for gold in 1994 (Sweden won in SO)— ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) February 21, 2014
Before Canada and Sweden face off for gold on Sunday, the U.S. and Finland will go head to head for a podium spot on Saturday. A win for the Americans would secure their third hockey medal in their past four trips to the Olympics.
Meanwhile, Finland is searching for its second consecutive Olympic bronze.
Both sides will be heading home wondering what could have been, but the flight out of Sochi is guaranteed to be much more pleasant for one of these squads.
Mikaela Shiffrin Shreds En Route to Gold
Just three days after finishing fifth in the women's giant slalom, 18-year-old American Mikaela Shiffrin opened eyes with an incredible performance in the women's slalom, becoming the youngest winner in Olympic history and the first American to win gold in the event in more than 40 years.
But her triumph certainly didn't come easy as she nearly crashed in her second run. Afterward, an ecstatic Shiffrin broke down how she was able to recover and the key to her Olympic success, per The New York Times' Bill Pennington:
I’ve made that recovery in practice a hundred times, if not more. So I said, ‘You know what to do – charge back into the course.’ ... You can create your own miracle. But you do it by never looking past all the little steps along the way.
The reigning world champion in the event, Shiffrin entered Sochi with lofty expectations. Unsurprisingly, she lived up to the hype, turning in an opening run of 52.62 seconds to take a 0.49-second lead into the final run.
Her second run time of 51.92 was only the sixth best, but landed her a total time of 1 minute and 44.54 seconds, good enough for gold.
Austria's Marlies Schild and Kathrin Zettel took home silver and bronze, respectively. Schild was 0.53 seconds back while Zettel was 0.81 seconds off the pace.
Canada Complete Clean Sweep in Curling
One day after Canada's women's curling team defeated Sweden to secure gold, the Canadian men's team topped Great Britain 9-3 to finish atop the podium for the third straight Olympics.
Canada men win 3rd straight curling gold. Canada is 1st country to sweep both Olympic curling golds. #Sochi2014— Paul Carr (@PCarrESPN) February 21, 2014
Sadly for Canada, there are no more curling events for the superpower to dominate in Sochi.
Nonetheless, Brad Jacobs and company earned Canada's ninth gold medal of these Games, tying the nation with the United States and Russia in that category and pulling them within one of Norway, who leads with 10 golds to this point.
In the men's bronze-medal game, Sweden would defeat China 6-4 to earn the Scandinavians a sixth bronze medal in Sochi.
Looking Ahead to Day 15
With the Games set to conclude Sunday, Saturday promises to feature plenty of excitement. Not to mention a handful of medals will be awarded over the course of Day 15.
In addition to the men's hockey bronze-medal game, there'll be medal events in the following sports and disciplines: Alpine skiing, biathlon, cross-country skiing, snowboarding and speedskating.
For Team USA, two-time Olympic gold medalist Ted Ligety will look to lock up some more hardware in the men's slalom competition. The U.S. men's hockey team will also be aiming to add to the medal count with a bounceback win over Finland.
Meanwhile, Justin Reiter is the lone American athlete in Saturday's snowboarding parallel slalom event. Despite flying under the radar, Reiter is confident he can send a strong message on Saturday, per ESPN.com's Alyssa Roenigk: "I'd like to show kids that they can do this without the support of the USSA, without an industry behind them, without a country behind them. They can succeed on their own."
Sunday's action will feature just three medal events to wrap up the Olympics, with the men's hockey gold-medal game sure to provide a memorable finish to what's been a wild two-plus weeks in Russia.
But until it's over, the medal count is still up for grabs.
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