Sochi Day 12: Five things to watch

Men’s hockey quarter-finals, curling semi-finals… repeat gold in women’s bobsleigh?

BOBSLEIGH-WC-DOUBLES-WOMEN

By Dave Zarum, Sportsnet

1) Canada One goes for gold: After a strong start in the opening heats of women’s bobsleigh, Canada’s top team of Heather Moyse and Kaillie Humphries (the defending gold medallists, if you haven’t heard) are currently in second place behind the USA One team of Elana Meyers and Lauryn Williams. Medals will be handed out Wednesday following the final two heats. 11:15 a.m. EST

2) Men’s hockey’s knockout round: Well, I don’t think anybody expected a Canada/Latvia quarterfinal matchup heading into Tuesday’s qualifying knockout game between the Latvians and Switzerland. But here we are. The Swiss had only allowed one goal in three games before giving up three to Latvia, who earned their first win of the tournament at a most opportune time. You can expect Latvia to employ a similar defensive strategy to what Swiss would have (a somewhat looser version of what we saw in the Finland game, with three defencemen guarding the net), and there is some NHL talent on their roster (namely the Buffalo Sabres’ top prospect Zemgus Girgensons and former Avs d-man Sandis Ozolinsh). But with Carey Price in net and the increased pressure of the elimination round, Canada should, on paper at least, control every aspect of the game to move on to the semis. Noon EST

3) Ladies short program: Kaetlyn Osmond convincingly took home gold at the Canadian Championships this year, but will go into the short program in Sochi as something of an underdog. Osmond finished fifth in the team event, while Russia’s Yulia Lipnitskaya took first place. The 18-year-old from Marystown, Nfld., will be skating to “Big Spender.” 10 a.m. EST

4) Curling semis: Jennifer Jones and Sochi’s lone undefeated team, that includes Kaitlyn Lawes, Jill Officer, and Dawn McEwen, have already made history as the only team to ever escape the round robin stage of an Olympics without a loss. But they will face a steep test in the semifinals against Great Britain, while Sweden and Switzerland compete in the other semis. On the men’s side, Brad Jacobs and company will face China, and the winner advances to face either Sweden or Great Britain. 5 a.m. EST

5) Cross-country hopefuls: While Canada has been shut out thus far at the Laura Cross-Country and Biathlon Center, today marks two medal events—the men’s and women’s team sprint. In previous contests, Canadians found their best success in the sprint, raising hopes for Wednesday’s races. On the men’s side, Alex Harvey won gold in the team sprint at the 2011 World Championship. Meanwhile, for the ladies, the team of Daria Gaiazova and Perianne Jones managed a fifth place finish in the sprint quarterfinals. Both the semifinals and finals will run today. 4:15 a.m. EST

Dave Zarum writes for Sportsnet.




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