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Olympic Daily News - Tuesday, February 18th

Krasnaya Polyana, Russia (SportsNetwork.com) - American David Wise won the first-ever Olympic gold medal on Tuesday in the men's freestyle halfpipe event.

Snowboarders have been using the halfpipe for their death-defying tricks since the Nagano Games back in 1998, but the decision was made in 2011 to add the ski halfpipe to the Olympic lineup for the Sochi Games.

And fittingly, it was the 23-year-old Wise who walked away with the top prize.

Widely regarded as the most technically sound and stylish skier in the sport, the 3-time reigning X Games champion nailed double corks on both walls of his first run in the final round for a high score of 92.0.

However, Wise, who was second after the qualification round, fell on his second run through, but it wouldn't matter as the best of his two scores was counted.

Canadian Mike Riddle nabbed the silver with a score of 90.60 points, while Frenchman Kevin Rolland, who finished second to Wise in the most recent X Games, finished two points behind Riddle to capture the bronze.

Conditions continued to be less than ideal at Rosa Khutor Extreme Park, as snow fell through the final round causing a bevy of wipeouts, including current world No. 1 Justin Dorey of Canada.

Dorey, who won the most recent World Cup event, led after the qualification round, but fell on both of his runs in the final round.

Team USA's Aaron Blunck finished seventh with 79.40 points.

MAZE WINS GIANT SLALOM FOR 2ND SOCHI GOLD

Krasnaya Polyana, Russia (SportsNetwork.com) - Downhill co-champion Tina Maze of Slovenia won her second gold medal of the Sochi Olympics on Tuesday in the women's giant slalom.

Maze edged super-G champion Anna Fenninger of Austria by .07 seconds and 2006 gold medalist Viktoria Rebensburg of Germany was another .20 seconds further back for the bronze.

Mikaela Shiffrin, the 18-year-old American slalom specialist, was fifth after both runs. She briefly occupied the last medal position before being knocked off the podium by the last contenders to ski the foggy Rosa Khutor course.

Earlier, former Olympic champion Julia Mancuso of the U.S. missed a gate on her first run and was eliminated in her last race of the Sochi Games.

Maze, 30, shared the downhill title last week with Switzerland's Dominique Gisin in the first gold medal tie in Olympic alpine skiing history. Maze won two silver medals at the 2010 Olympics, in the super-G and giant slalom.

She had a big lead -- .52 seconds over Sweden's Jessica Lindell-Vikarby -- after the first run and needed almost all of it. She finished with a total time of 2 minutes, 36.87 seconds.

Fenninger's time in the second run was .78 seconds faster than Maze's, and Rebensburg outskied the Slovenian star by more than a second.

Snow fell at the top of the hill as the second runs got underway and fog blanketed the middle of the course, but all the skiers were able to start after a short delay.

Italy's Nadia Fanchini was fourth, .11 out of medal contention, and Sweden's Maria Pietilae-Holmner and Lindell-Vikarby finished sixth and seventh.

Mancuso, 29, got bounced off track late in her run, ending her Olympics. She competed in five events and won her only medal, a bronze, in last week's super combined.

The four-time Olympic medalist captured gold in the giant slalom in 2006 but finished eighth in the event four years ago. She was one of 15 skiers who didn't finish their first run.

Germany's Maria Hoefl-Riesch pulled out of the event before it started. She had already won her second straight gold in the super combined and took silver in the super-G.

Shiffrin is the reigning world champion and has three World Cup titles this season in slalom, which is scheduled for Friday and was her best hope for a medal coming into the games.

Canada's Erin Mielzynski came in 21st and Americans Resi Stiegler and Megan McJames finished 29th and 30th.

DUTCH RESUME DOMINANCE IN SPEED SKATING, SWEEP 10,000 METERS

Sochi, Russia (SportsNetwork.com) - Speed skating has belonged to the Netherlands at the Sochi Olympics and that did not change on Tuesday.

The Dutch swept another event, grabbing three more medals in the men's 10,000 meters at Adler Arena.

Jorrit Bergsma was the top finisher in Tuesday's event, setting an Olympic record with a time of 12 minutes, 44.45 seconds in the grueling race. Sven Kramer was 4.57 seconds off Bergsma's time, while Bob de Jong finished at a distant 13:07.19 seconds, 22.74 ticks off Bergsma's incredible time.

Still, de Jong earned bronze and gave the Netherlands a total of 19 medals in speed skating during these Olympics. Twelve of those medals have been won by the men.

It marked the fourth event in Sochi that the Dutch have swept. The women won all three medals in the 1,500 meters, while the men also filled the podium in the 500 and 5,000 meters.

Bergsma claimed a bronze in the men's 5,000 back on Feb. 8, with Kramer taking gold. However, it was the 28-year-old Bergsma coming out on top Tuesday in a repeat of his first-place finish at the 2013 World Single Distances Championships, also held in Sochi.

For Kramer, he may view his silver as a disappointment. The 27-year-old, who picked up his sixth Olympic medal with his second of Sochi, was in line to win this event four years ago in Vancouver, but was disqualified for an illegal lane change.

It also was the fourth Olympic medal of de Jong's career and each has come in this event. That includes a gold in 2006 and a bronze four years ago.

South Korea's Lee Seung-Hoon, who took gold in Vancouver after Kramer's DQ, finished fourth on Tuesday with a time of 13:11.68.

American Emery Lehman, 17, finished 10th, one spot ahead of fellow U.S. skater Patrick Meek.

FRANCE'S VAULTIER WINS MEN'S SNOWBOARD CROSS

Krasnaya Polyana, Russia (SportsNetwork.com) - France's Pierre Vaultier held off Russia's Nikolay Olyunin to win the men's snowboard cross Tuesday at the Sochi Olympics.

Vaultier, 26, won his first medal in his third Olympics, fending off a late charge from Olyunin, who had won each of his three heats to make the six-rider big final but couldn't catch the Frenchman after the last jump on the way to a close finish.

Alex Deibold, one of four Americans in the field, earned the bronze in his first Olympics.

Deibold and U.S. teammate Trevor Jacob both crashed at the finish line in the same semifinal. Deibold advanced to the big final in a photo finish, his board crossing the line ahead of Jacob.

It was one of several crashes on a rainy day at Rosa Khutor Extreme Park.

Nate Holland didn't crash, but the American medal hopeful didn't make it out of the first round of races. Holland, who won his seventh Winter X Games gold medal in the event last month, was running second in his 1/8 final to Jacob when he lost momentum on a bad landing.

Only the top three riders in each heat moved on to the quarterfinals. A fourth American, Nick Baumgartner, was also eliminated before the quarters.

Kevin Hill was the only one of four Canadian competitors to make it as far as the semifinals but he crashed after Spain's Lucas Eguibar clipped the back of his board. Jake Holden, Christopher Robanske and Robert Fagan were also in the field.

France's Paul-Henri De Le Rue, Norway's Stian Sivertzen and Italy's Luca Matteotti finished behind Deibold in that order in the big final. Eguibar won the small final to finish in seventh place.

American Seth Wescott had won the first two Olympic men's snowboard cross gold medals, but didn't compete this time.

The competition was postponed on Monday because of fog. The seeding round was canceled, so the 39 riders moved directly to the 1/8 finals and were ranked Tuesday according to FIS points.

NORWAY WINS GOLD AND SILVER IN NORDIC COMBINED

Krasnaya Polyana, Russia (SportsNetwork.com) - Norway's Joergen Graabak took gold on Tuesday in the men's Nordic combined large hill event at the Sochi Olympics.

Graabak was sixth after the ski jumps and started the cross country race 42 seconds behind leader Eric Frenzel of Germany. Graabak, though, finished the 10-kilometer race in 22 minutes and 45.5 seconds. That gave the 22-year-old a total time of 23:27.5 for an edge of just 0.6 seconds over countryman Magnus Hovdal Moan.

Moan, who was seventh after the jumps, finished the race in 22:43.1 and took silver, while German Fabian Riessle earned bronze after finishing 1.6 seconds off the lead.

Moan claimed his third career Olympic medal, with the previous two having come in 2006.

Frenzel led after a jump of 139.5 meters and a score of 129.0. That gave him an eight-second head start over Norway's Haavard Klemetsen, but he finished the race at 23:57.9 to end in 10th place.

Frenzel won the normal hill event last week.

Bill Demong won the event four years ago for the first-ever U.S. Olympic gold medal in Nordic combined and teammate Johnny Spillane was second in a shocking result at the Vancouver Games that wasn't repeated.

American medal hopes withered in the jump. Bryan Fletcher was the top U.S. finisher in 27th place and started the cross country race 1:59 after the leader.

He finished the event in 22nd place, two spots back of brother Taylor Fletcher.

Opening ceremony flag bearer Todd Lodwick of the U.S. was 30th after the jumps and did not start the cross country race. Lodwick, competing in his sixth Winter Olympics, suffered a serious shoulder injury in a ski-jumping crash in December and also didn't start the cross country race in the normal hill event last week.

SVENDSEN WINS MASS START, FOURCADE GETS SILVER

Krasnaya Polyana, Russia (SportsNetwork.com) - Norway's Emil Hegle Svendsen won his third Olympic gold medal Tuesday at the Sochi Olympics, beating French biathlete Martin Fourcade in a sprint to the finish line to take the men's 15- kilometer mass start event.

Svendsen did not incur a single penalty in the shooting portion of the event and was able to beat Fourcade, winner of two gold medals in Sochi, in a photo finish. Both skiers crossed the finish line in 42 minutes, 29.1 seconds, but Svendsen was declared the winner after a quick check of the photo evidence.

Fourcade, Olympic champion in the individual and pursuit at the 2014 Games, missed one shot en route to his silver-medal finish on Tuesday.

Ondrej Moravec of the Czech Republic won bronze with a time of 42:42.9. It was the second medal of the Sochi Games for Moravec, who finished second to Fourcade in the pursuit.

Slovakia's Jakov Fak finished in fourth place, 14.3 seconds behind Moravec.

Tuesday's race was originally scheduled for Sunday, but was postponed on consecutive days due to heavy fog.

Norway's Ole Einar Bjoerndalen finished in 22nd place to miss out on another chance to set the all-time Winter Olympics medal record. The biathlon legend missed six shots in the event to take himself out of medal contention.

Bjoerndalen won the men's 10-kilometer sprint on Feb. 8 for his 12th medal, tying him with Norwegian cross country skier Bjorn Daehlie for the most all- time among Winter Olympians. Daehlie won 12 medals between 1992-98 -- including eight golds.

Bjoerndalen, 40, has an excellent chance to medal with Norway in the men's biathlon relay on Saturday and could also reach the podium if he races in the mixed relay on Wednesday. The seven-time Olympic champion is the oldest Winter Olympian to win an individual gold.

The United States still has never won an Olympic biathlon medal. Tim Burke had the best showing for an America on Tuesday, finishing in 21st place. Lowell Bailey of the U.S. was one place behind Bjoerndalen in 23rd.

Canada's Brendan Green finished ninth and countryman Jean-Philippe Le Guellec was 10th.

SKOREA WINS GOLD IN RELAY; CELSKI MOVES ON IN 500

Sochi, Russia (SportsNetwork.com) - South Korea won gold in the women's 3,000- meter relay Tuesday at the Sochi Olympics thanks to a terrific final leg from Shim Suk-Hee.

Shim, who won silver in the 1,500 in Sochi, gave the Koreans the lead on the last of 27 laps. She passed Zhou Yang of China to give South Korea its fifth gold medal in the relay since the 1994 Lillehammer Games.

The Koreans finished the race in 4 minutes, 9.498 seconds. Although the Chinese crossed the finish line in second place they were knocked off the podium due to an infraction that led to an Italian skater crashing. The disqualification allowed Canada to move into silver medal position, while Italy claimed bronze.

It was a reversal of fortunes for the Koreans and Chinese in this event after a memorable race for relay gold four years ago in Vancouver. South Korea had won four straight Olympic titles in the relay heading into Vancouver and actually crossed the finish line first, but was later disqualified for impeding with the Chinese team. The infraction awarded China the gold, with Canada and the United States taking silver and bronze in that order.

Canada has won three straight silver medals in the relay.

In other short track speedskating action on Tuesday, Emily Scott and Jessica Smith of the United States both advanced to the quarterfinals of the women's 1,000 meters. Both American skaters placed second in their heats. The final three rounds of the 1,000 will be held Friday at Iceberg Skating Palace.

Joining Scott and Smith in the quarterfinals are a host of medal winners from the Sochi Games. China's Li Jianrou, Italy's Arianna Fontana and Park Seung-Hi of South Korea -- the gold, silver and bronze medalists in the 500 -- also advanced on Tuesday, as did Shim.

Dutch skater Jorien ter Mors, who won gold in the long track 1,500-meter race on Sunday, also made it to the quarterfinals.

Canada's Valerie Maltais also advanced after winning the third heat with an Olympic-record time of 1:28.771.

Eight heats in the men's 500 also were run on Tuesday. J.R. Celski of the U.S. moved on to the quarterfinals by finishing second to Canada's Oliver Jean in the seventh heat. Celski, winner of two bronze medals four years ago in Vancouver, has yet to reach the podium in Sochi.

All three medalists from the 1,000-meter race also advanced, including gold medalist Viktor Ahn of Russia. Ahn has two medals in Sochi, placing third in the 1,500 in addition to winning the 1,000.

Fellow Russian Vladimir Grigorev, silver medalist behind Ahn in the 1,000, also moved on as did Sjinkie Knegt of the Netherlands. Knegt picked up a bronze in the 1,000.

Canada's Charles Hamelin, gold medalist in the 1,500, failed to qualify for the quarterfinals after falling around a turn in his heat. Hamelin was in the lead when he slipped.

Medalists in the 500 will be determined after the final three rounds are held on Friday.

U.S. 1ST AND 3RD AFTER TWO BOBSLED HEATS; LOLO'S DUO 11TH

Rzhanaya Polyana, Russia (SportsNetwork.com) - Track and field star Lauryn Williams' transition to the ice has her on the verge of making history.

Hurdler Lolo Jones still has her work cut out for her.

Williams and teammate Elana Meyers posted the top times after the first two of four heats in the women's bobsled event on Tuesday, while fellow Americans Jamie Greubel and Aja Evans came in at third on the day.

Jones, who like Williams is also making the transition from track and field to bobsledding, was less successful. Jones and teammate Jazmine Fenlator posted the 11th-best time, a solid 1.84 seconds off the pace of Williams and Meyers.

American bobsledding has gotten plenty of attention thanks to the inclusion of Jones and Williams making up a pair of teams, that in addition to Greubel's duo, has the U.S. a strong contender to medal at the Sochi Olympics. Williams and Meyers did little to discount that notion, posting a top time of 1 minute and 54.89 seconds.

The two set a track record with a first-heat time of 57.26 seconds, then kept their hold on first place with a 57.63 second run.

Canada's Kaillie Humphries and Heather Moyse were second after the first heat and held that spot with a total time of 1:55.12 after two runs, putting them .23 seconds behind the first American team.

The 28-year-old Humphries took gold four years ago in Vancouver and won the world championship in both 2012 and '13. Moyse won gold with Humphries in 2010 after finishing fourth in 2006.

The team of Greubel and Evans finished their two heats with a time of 1:55.45, .56 ticks off the lead and .49 seconds ahead of fourth-place Belgium. Jones and Fenlator, in the third American bobsled, posted a time of 1:56.73.

Williams is a two-time Olympic medalist at the Summer Games, having won a silver medal in the 100-meter sprint at the 2004 Athens Olympics before grabbing gold in the 2012 Games in London. She ran the qualifier for the 400- meter relay and the U.S. went on to win the final.

The 30-year-old Williams is looking to become just the second Olympian to win gold medals in both the Summer and Winter Olympics. The other was American Eddie Eagan, who took gold in boxing in 1920 before winning in bobsledding during the 1932 Games.

Jones, meanwhile, is looking to reach a medal podium after some heartbreak in the Summer Games. She was on her way to winning the 100-meter hurdles in Beijing six years ago when she tripped over the second-to-last gate, then placed fourth at the London Olympics.

Medals will be awarded Wednesday after the completion of the third and fourth runs.

CZECHS HOLD OFF SLOVAKS TO REACH QUARTERFINALS

Sochi, Russia (SportsNetwork.com) - Roman Cervenka scored two goals to help send the Czech Republic to the quarterfinals with a 5-3 win over late-charging Slovakia Tuesday at the Sochi Olympics.

With a lead that grew to four goals late in the second period, the Czechs probably didn't expect to need an empty-net goal from Tomas Plekanec to seal what appeared to be a runaway victory.

Marian Hossa keyed the Slovak comeback with two goals, and Tomas Surovy closed the gap to 4-3 with 11:09 to play in the third period.

Slovakia continued to push for the equalizer, forcing Czech goaltender Ondrej Pavelec to make critical saves, but defenseman Andrej Meszaros committed a slashing penalty to thwart a Czech odd-man rush with 52.2 seconds left.

Plekanec lit the lamp with 38.7 to go, as the Czechs advanced to play the United States on Wednesday.

Cervenka's first strike came during a three-goal opening period that represented an offensive explosion for a club that averaged two goals per game while going 1-2 in the preliminary round.

David Krejci and Ales Hemsky also scored for the Czechs. Tomas Kaberle posted two assists and Pavelec stopped 29 shots.

Third-string goaltender Jan Laco made 24 saves for the Slovaks, who finished winless in the Winter Games.

Hossa put Slovakia on the board with 1:03 remaining in the second. He and Surovy then scored 1:31 apart to make things interesting.

Pavelec directed a rebound right onto Hossa's stick and he buried the puck at 7:20. The Slovaks then caught the Czechs in a line change and Surovy hammered Milan Bartovic's pass, beating Pavelec on the glove side with a slap shot from the high slot at 8:51.

The Czechs grabbed a 2-0 lead on goals separated by 29 seconds.

Hemsky scored 15 seconds into a power play. After a point shot created a scramble in front of Laco, Hemsky took a pass off his skate in the slot and fired a shot into the far side of the net at 6:53 of the first.

Cervenka then ripped a backhander over a prone Laco seconds after Plekanec had struck the post with his backhand attempt.

A one-time blast by Krejci on a power play made it 3-0 with 2:57 left.

Cervenka extended the lead to 4-0 when he stole the puck in the neutral zone, deked and roofed a backhander from a sharp angle on a breakaway with 4:19 to play in the middle stanza.

RADULOV SCORES TWICE TO LIFT RUSSIA OVER NORWAY

Sochi, Russia (SportsNetwork.com) - Alexander Radulov recorded two goals and an assist and Sergei Bobrovsky posted a shutout to lead Russia into the quarterfinals on Tuesday with a 4-0 win over Norway at the Sochi Olympics.

Captain Pavel Datsyuk added three assists to help the Russians take down the Norwegians and set up a quarterfinal matchup against Finland on Wednesday. The Finns received a bye to the quarterfinals after posting a second-place finish in Group B.

Bobrovsky, a goaltender for the NHL's Columbus Blue Jackets, made 22 saves to keep the Norwegians off the scoreboard. It was the first win of the tournament for Bobrovsky, who was a tough-luck loser in 3-2 shootout loss to the United States in group play.

The host Russians are under enormous pressure to win gold in Sochi and they are hoping to take the same road Canada used en route to its Olympic title at the 2010 Vancouver Games. The Canadians were the sixth overall seed coming out of the preliminary round four years ago in Vancouver, but still went on to capture the gold medal.

Lars Haugen stopped 27-of-30 shots in the loss. Norway failed to record a single win in four games at the Sochi Olympics and was outscored by a 16-3 margin in the tournament.

Norway played Tuesday without forward Mats Zuccarello, the lone NHLer on the team's roster. The New York Ranger missed the contest due to a hand injury. Zuccarello failed to score in any of Norway's three games in the group stage.

Russia opened a 1-0 lead early in the second period on Radulov's goal at the 4:12 mark. Radulov charged through the neutral zone and down the right wing before wheeling around the net and sending a backhand shot on net. The puck hit off the skate of Norway's Morten Ask before finding its way into the net.

The goal was the first for Russia, not including shootouts, in 101 minutes, 28 seconds. The Russians dropped a 3-2 shootout decision to the United States on Saturday and followed with a 1-0 shootout win over Slovakia to end group play on Sunday.

Norway was whistled for a penalty 1:35 after Radulov's goal, but Russia was unable to convert on the ensuing man advantage. The Russians had plenty of offensive zone time on the power play, but couldn't get one past Haugen.

However, Russia was able to extend the lead to 2-0 later in the second period. Radulov received a pass from Datsyuk in the left circle and hit the post with a backhand attempt. The puck then hit off Haugen's back and briefly stayed out of the net until Ilya Kovalchuk knocked it across the line from the right side of the crease.

Vladimir Tarasenko had a chance to extend the Russian lead to three goals, but he was stopped by Haugen on a breakaway with just under four minutes gone in the third period.

Alex Ovechkin missed a breakaway attempt later in the third period. The Washington Capitals superstar appeared to be tripped by a Norwegian player on the breakaway, but no call was made.

The Russians started slowly, firing just seven shots on net in a scoreless opening period. Norway had six shots on goal in the opening 20 minutes and both teams failed to convert on a power-play opportunity in the first.

Russia padded its cushion with a pair of goals in the final two minutes of play. Radulov recorded an empty-net goal with 1:07 remaining and Alexei Tereshenko scored with the goaltender back in the game just 27 seconds later.

SLOVENIA BLANKS AUSTRIA, WILL FACE SWEDEN

Sochi, Russia (SportsNetwork.com) - Robert Kristan turned aside 30 shots for a shutout and Jan Mursak and Sabahudin Kovacevic both had a goal and an assist to help Slovenia down Austria 4-0 in Tuesday's playoff game at the Sochi Olympics.

Competing for the first time in the men's hockey tournament at the Winter Games, the Slovenes advanced to the quarterfinals by stifling the Austrian offense. Next up for Slovenia is Wednesday's quarterfinal battle with top- seeded Sweden. The Swedes earned a bye to the quarters after going 3-0 in Group C.

Anze Kopitar and Jan Urbas also scored for Slovenia, while David Rodman added two assists.

Mathias Lange surrendered three goals on 34 shots for Austria, which was trying to advance to the quarterfinals at the Olympics for the first time.

Kopitar gave the Slovenes an early lead with his second goal of the tournament. With Slovenia working on a power play, the Los Angeles Kings star sent a wrister on net from the slot and the puck trickled between Lange's pads for a 1-0 lead at 5:29 of the first period.

Slovenia built a 2-0 lead at 11:57 of the opening stanza on a short-handed tally from Urbas. Austria's Thomas Vanek turned the puck over in the offensive zone and Urbas collected the disc and charged down the right wing. He let go of a wrist shot from the right circle and beat Lange on his glove hand.

Kovacevic pushed the lead to three goals when he wristed a shot over Lange's glove hand from the slot at 3:21 of the second. Kovacevic was back in Slovenia's lineup Tuesday after serving a one-game suspension for delivering an elbow to the head of Slovakia's Tomas Kopecky during a preliminary round game.

Kristan stopped 10 shots in each of the three periods to help Slovenia post its first shutout of the tournament. His team was able to add a fourth goal on an empty-net tally from Mursak with 2:58 left in the third period.

LATVIA PULLS OFF UPSET WIN OVER SWITZERLAND

Sochi, Russia (SportsNetwork.com) - Latvia has just one win at the Sochi Games. But somehow it is still alive to win a medal in the men's hockey tournament.

After going winless in Group C play, Latvia advanced to the quarterfinals on Tuesday and exacted a measure of revenge against Switzerland, as Lauris Darzins scored twice to help eliminate the Swiss with a 3-1 upset win.

Edgars Masalskis stopped 32-of-33 shots for Latvia, which will now play heavily-favored Canada in Wednesday's quarterfinals.

Swiss goaltender Jonas Hiller, who came into this game having not allowed a goal with two shutouts, including one over Latvia, surrendered two first- period goals and ended the game with 19 saves.

Latvia scored 8:38 into the opening period when Oskars Bartulis sent what seemed to be an innocent shot on net from the right circle. Hiller, though, was badly screened in front and the puck sailed over his glove.

Darzins then gave the Latvians a two-goal edge less than three minutes later with a power-play goal that found its way over the right shoulder of Hiller.

It was the fourth power-play tally of the tournament for Latvia.

The Swiss got on the board with just under five minutes remaining in the second when Martin Pluss took a feed from Reto Suri between the circles and sent a shot past the outstretched left leg of Masalskis

Darzins, though, ended any chance of a comeback with an empty-netter with a minute left to play.

GREAT BRITAIN EDGES NORWAY IN CURLING TIEBREAKER

Sochi, Russia (SportsNetwork.com) - Great Britain advanced to the semifinals of the men's curling tournament after slipping past Norway in a tiebreaker at the Sochi Olympics.

Britain recorded a 6-5 win over Norway in the lone tiebreaker on Tuesday. The win moved the Brits into the semifinal round to face Sweden on Wednesday.

Norway held a 5-4 lead heading into the 10th end, but British skip David Murdoch came up with a winning final shot. Murdoch took out two Norwegian stones en route to scoring two points for the Brits with the clinching throw.

Great Britain is attempting to win an Olympic medal in men's curling for the first time since the sport was reintroduced to the Winter Games. The British won curling gold at the inaugural 1924 Chamonix Games, but have failed to reach the podium since curling returned to the Olympics in 1998.

In addition to the semifinal contest between Britain and top-seeded Sweden, Canada and China also will battle for a spot in the gold medal match on Wednesday.

The women's semifinal round is also scheduled for Wednesday. Great Britain and unbeaten Canada will battle in one match while Sweden takes on Switzerland in the other.

FINLAND BLANKS RUSSIA FOR FIFTH IN WOMEN'S HOCKEY

Sochi, Russia (SportsNetwork.com) - Noora Raty finished a strong Olympics with 19 saves to lift Finland to a 4-0 victory over Russia in the fifth-place game of the women's hockey tournament.

Linda Valimaki and Riikka Valila scored goals less than a minute apart in the first period and Michelle Karvinen added a pair of goals in the third period for the Finns, who lost to Sweden in the quarterfinals.

Raty yielded just three goals apiece in losses to the United States and Canada to start the tournament, making 40 saves against the Americans and 39 more against the Canadians. She played all six games in net for Finland and stopped 157 of the 170 shots fired her way for a stellar .929 save percentage.

The Russians didn't pose much of an offensive threat on Tuesday and the Finns gained the upper hand when Valimaki scored with 3:23 remaining in the first period and Valila followed just 51 seconds later.

Karvinen made it 4-0 early in the third with goals just 61 seconds apart, as Finland finished 3-3 in the tournament.

Germany took seventh place earlier on Tuesday with a 3-2 win over Japan. Viona Harper made 27 saves for the Germans, who picked up goals from Susann Gotz, Julia Zorn and Sara Seiler.

Hanae Kubo and Haruna Yoneyama scored for Japan. The Japanese team went 0-5 in its first Olympic appearance since the home 1998 Nagano Games.

Germany's only two victories both came against Japan.

The Germans took a 1-0 lead midway through the first period on Gotz's tip-in on a loose puck in the crease. The goal came on a power play, but Japan tied the score less than five minutes later on Kubo's rebound.

Zorn gave Germany the lead for good on another power play goal early in the second period, scoring on a slap shot from the point.

Seiler's rebound made it 3-1 with 4:11 remaining in the second and Yoneyama scored 2:56 into the third to make it a one-goal game.

PUSSY RIOT MEMBERS RELEASED IN SOCHI

Sochi, Russia (SportsNetwork.com) - Two members of the punk rock band Pussy Riot who were detained in Sochi on Tuesday were later released.

Pictures posted online by news outlets showed several people in colorful ski masks surrounded by reporters outside a police station in the Olympic host city.

The two band members were part of a group of people picked up by Sochi police earlier Tuesday as they planned to film a protest video, according to reports and tweets from one of the band members.

Nadezhda Tolokonnikova tweeted that she had been detained "on suspicion of felony." A human rights activist who was also detained told the Washington Post the women were told they had been picked up because they were witnesses to a theft in a hotel. An NBC News correspondent reported the manager of a hotel where the band members were staying said a bag of cash had apparently been stolen.

Tolokonnikova said "force" was used and that they had planned to perform a song called "Putin Will Teach You to Love the Motherland" before they were detained.

The band is known for its activism and strong opposition to Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Tolokonnikova and another woman detained Tuesday, Maria Alekhina, were among three band members who were arrested and jailed for nearly two years after performing an anti-Putin song in a Moscow cathedral and turning it into a music video.

Tolokonnikova, 24, and Alekhina, 25, were released in December and Pussy Riot's plight has made headlines around the world.

Two weeks ago, Tolokonnikova and Alekhina appeared on the Comedy Central show "The Colbert Report" and exchanged jokes with host Stephen Colbert through a translator.

Tolokonnikova tweeted throughout the day Tuesday, even after she had been detained. After her release, she continued posting messages to the social media site about Putin and the Olympics.

The scene after their release was described as "wild" by a USA Today reporter, who said five people wore ski masks and sung songs as the press followed.

In an interview this month with the editorial board of the New York Times, Tolokonnikova and Alekhina said they didn't fear further imprisonment even as they pledged to continue being activists for causes including feminism and gay rights.

Russia was widely criticized for passing laws last year aimed at keeping gay "propaganda" away from children.