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Sunday, September 21, 2014
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Published: Sunday, 2/16/2014 - Updated: 7 months ago

U.S. men’s hockey advances

Kessel’s hat trick leads Americans into medal round

ASSOCIATED PRESS
Russia’s Ilya Kovalchuk flips the puck past Slovakia goaltender Jan Laco to score in the shootout. Russia’s Ilya Kovalchuk flips the puck past Slovakia goaltender Jan Laco to score in the shootout.
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SOCHI, Russia — Russia is having a tough time winning on the Olympic ice, and the Netherlands can't seem to lose.

The Russians were forced into a second straight shootout on Sunday and now must play an extra game to reach the men's hockey quarterfinals. The Dutch speedskaters have fared much better, earning a third sweep of the podium at the Sochi Games.

With hockey-crazed Russian crowds packing the arenas, Canada, Sweden, the United States, and Finland advanced to the hockey quarterfinals. They'll be joined by the winners of a four-game qualifying round on Tuesday among the eight remaining teams.

Russia lost its chance to skip the qualifying round when it was forced into a shootout by Slovakia, winning 1-0. That allowed Finland to claim the bye on goal difference. Canada, Sweden, and the U.S. all finished the qualifying round undefeated.

At the Adler Arena, Dutch skaters swept the podium in the women's 1,500 meters. Overall, the Dutch have won an astounding 16 speedskating medals in Sochi out of 24 awarded so far, smashing the Olympic record of 13 set by East Germany at the 1988 Calgary Games.

Two snowboarders were taken off the slope on stretchers Sunday following crashes during qualifying rounds for the snowboardcross finals. One suffered a concussion, the other an injured knee.

It was the same slope where Russian skicross racer Maria Komissarova fractured a vertebra in her back during a training crash Saturday. She was airlifted to a German hospital for treatment.

Also, Czech snowboarder Eva Samkova won her country's first gold medal of the games; and Sweden took gold in the men's 4x10-kilometer cross-country relay.

American forward Phil Kessel celebrates his goal against Slovenia on Sunday. He finished with a hat trick. American forward Phil Kessel celebrates his goal against Slovenia on Sunday. He finished with a hat trick.
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Hockey

Phil Kessel became the first American player in 12 years to score an Olympic hat trick in the 5-1 U.S. win over Slovenia. Canada defeated Finland 2-1 in overtime, while Austria won its first men's Olympic hockey game in a dozen years, defeating Norway 3-1.

In the women's preliminaries, Finland topped Germany 2-1 and Russia beat Japan 6-2. All four had already been eliminated from medal contention.

The U.S. will take on Sweden in the semifinals today while Canada takes on Switzerland in the other semi.

Snowboarding

Samkova won the women's snowboardcross, the first gold of the games for the Czech Republic. Samkova led from start to finish in all three qualifying and elimination races.

Lindsey Jacobellis of the U.S. crashed while leading her semifinal, the third straight disappointing Olympic finish for the eight-time X Games winner.

Jacobellis had gold in hand in Turin in 2006 only to fall with a big lead in the final while attempting a fancy grab. She recovered for silver. Four years ago in Vancouver, she washed out early in her semifinal run.

Cross-country

Sweden's win in the 4x10-kilometer relay came one day after the Swedish women had won gold in the same race. No country has won both relays since the old Soviet Union did it 42 years ago.

Swedish anchor Marcus Hellner skied alone for the entire fourth leg and grabbed a Swedish flag to wave as he entered the stadium.

Curling

Sweden and Canada became the first men's teams to qualify for the semifinals.

Norway, Britain, and China are battling for the other two spots.

The Swedes and Canadians also advanced to the semifinals in the women's tournament.

China, Britain, Switzerland, and Japan still have a chance for the remaining two semifinal spots.



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