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Update: Canada slip past Switzerland in seventh day of Olympic Games

Thursday, February 18th, 2010 | 3:28 pm

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Kevin Martin and Team Canada won their third game of the Olympic curling tournament Wednesday.

Update: 7:45 p.m.

Switzerland almost upset Canada for the second straight time in Olympic competition before Martin Brodeur salvaged the host nation’s night.

Canada were able to shake off their last meeting with Switzerland, a 2-0 defeat at the Turin Games in Itlay in 2006 in men’s hockey, thanks to their savvy goaltender.

Brodeur stopped all four Switzerland snipers in the shootout, including an incredible glove save off Martin Pluss, after he made 21 saves through regulation and overtime. Sidney Crosby scored Canada’s only goal in the shootout and Dany Heatley and Patrick Marleau both scored in the first period as Canada improve to 2-0 in Group A qualification action.

Canada’s Heatley, from San Jose Shark teammate Marleau, opened the scoring midway through the opening stanza before the host nation took a two-goal lead thanks to the power play. After the Swiss found themselves down a man late in the stanza, one of three Switzerland penalties in the period, Marleau tallied his first of the tournament.

But the Swiss didn’t give up and thanks to an unlucky bounce and goalie Jonas Hiller,  Switzerland were able to even the score. After Ivo Rutherman beat Brodeur glove side with a wicked shot to bring the Swiss within one, Marleau deflected a cross crease past Brodeur and into his own net to level the score at two apiece.

Enter Hiller. The Anaheim Ducks netminder made 18 of his 47 saves in the third period and the Swiss were able to force overtime after holding the favoured Canadians 2-2 through 60 minutes.

Overtime solved nothing, allowing Brodeur to capture the spotlight. The four-time Olympian stopped Hnat Domenichelli, Romano Lemm, Roman Wick before flashing the leather against Pluss while Crosby, Jonathan Toews and Ryan Getzlaf all missed before Crosby made good on his second chance.

Other  Olympic results saw Germany’s Maria Riesch won gold in the women’s alpine skiing super-combined at the Olympic Games on Thursday. American Julia Mancuso took the silver and Anja Paerson of Sweden the bronze.

Norway’s Emil Hegle Svendsen won the men’s 20 kilometre biathlon, while Belarus’s Sergey Novikov and Norway’s and Ole Einar Bjoerndalen shared silver in a dead heat.

By Pieter Uni

Christine Nesbitt captured Canada’s first speedskating gold medal of the Vancouver Olympic Games, winning the women’s 1,000 metres at the Richmond Oval on Thursday.

Nesbitt barely beat out World Cup rival Annette Gerritsen of the Netherlands as the London, Ont., native finished in a time of one minute 16.56 seconds, just 2-100ths of a second ahead of Gerritsen. Dutch skater Laurine van Riessen took bronze, while Kristina Groves of Ottawa, who captured bronze in the 1,500 earlier in the week, was fourth.

And while Kevin Martin and his Canadian curling rink didn’t medal today, the team took another golden step today, knocking off Sweden to improve Canada’s record to 3-0.

Martin and company beat Sweden’s Niklas Edin’s team 7-3 in men’s curling before a capacity crowd at the Vancouver Olympic Centre.

With the victory, Martin, third John Morris, second Marc Kennedy and lead Ben Hebert remain undefeated in round-robin action of the Olympic curling tournament. Team Canada will now face France in Thursday night curling action. Sweden, the youngest team in the tournament, dropped to 2-1 and will be back on the ice Thursday night against China.

Upcoming events

  • Skeleton qualifying (7 p.m., OLN) begins for Canada’s Mellisa Hollingsworth and Jeff Pain.
  • Switzerland-Canada men’s hockey game (7:30 p.m. CTV/RDS)
  • The men’s free skate (8 p.m., CTV/TSN)
  • The women’s halfpipe final (9 p.m., CTV/TSN)
  • Russia and Slovakia play in the late hockey game (midnight, Sportsnet).

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