Day 15 preview: Canada/Slovakia semi, Bernard in curling final

Men’s hockey will be the focus for Canadians on Friday when Team Canada plays Slovakia in semifinal action.

Canada will be looking to hold on to the momentum gained from a dominating 7-3 win over the Russians and Alexander Ovechkin.  Slovakia upset Sweden in the last quarterfinal Wednesday, and netminder Jaroslav Halak will be the key to Slovakia’s hopes of beating the home team.

In women’s curling, the Canadian rink led by skip Cheryl Bernard will look to win the gold medal game against defending Olympic gold medallist Anette Norberg of Sweden.  Bernard’s team struggled Thursday, narrowly defeating Switzerland 6-5 in the semifinal.  Sweden looked strong defeating 2009 world champion Bingyu Wang of China 9-4.

It will be a busy day in short track speed skating, with the men’s 500 metres, ladies’ 1,000m, and the 5,000m men’s relay.  The men’s relay team of Guillaume Bastille, Charles Hamelin, Olivier Jean, and Francois-Louis Tremblay will skate for Canada in the A final.

In long track speed skating, the team pursuit competition will begin on Friday for both men and women.  Skating for the Canadian men’s team will be Denny Morrison, Lucas Makowsky, and Mathieu Giroux, while bronze medallist Kristina Groves, gold medal winner Christine Nesbitt, and Brittany Schussler will represent Canada in the women’s pursuit.

Other medal events to be held on Friday:

  • Alpine skiing:  Both runs of the ladies’ slalom will be at Whistler on Friday, with Germany’s Maria Riesch entering the competition as the top-ranked slalom skier in the world.  The Canadian skiers are building up to the Sochi Winter Games in 2014 and are not expected to contend for a medal this time around.
  • Biathlon:  Canada’s relay team, led by Jean-Philippe Leguellec, will look to post another Canadian-best result in the men’s 4×7.5-kilometre relay, although they are not expected to medal.  The Norwegian team is favoured, but France, Austria, and Russia have also won relay events this season.
  • Snowboard:  Kimiko Zakreski, Caroline Calve, and Alexa Loo will represent Canada in the ladies’ parallel giant slalom.  There will be a qualification race followed by the medal round held at Cypress Mountain.

The final event to be held on Friday is the first two runs of the four-man bobsleigh.  Lyndon Rush and Pierre Lueders will drive the two Canadian sleds.