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Canadian Women Defeat US in Battle of Fierce Hockey Rivals

Canada's Meghan Agosta-Marciano celebrates after scoring what turned out to be the game-winning goal on Team USA's goalie Jessie Vetter (not shown) during their women's ice hockey game at the Sochi Winter Olympics, Feb.12, 2014.
Canada's Meghan Agosta-Marciano celebrates after scoring what turned out to be the game-winning goal on Team USA's goalie Jessie Vetter (not shown) during their women's ice hockey game at the Sochi Winter Olympics, Feb.12, 2014.
Mike Richman
Canadian ice hockey player Meghan Agosta received a nice gift on her 27th birthday, and provided one, too.

Agosta tallied two goals and an assist to lift Canada to a 3-2 win over the United States, in a preview of the expected gold medal match at the Sochi Olympics.

With the win, the Canadians snapped a four-game losing streak to their fierce North American rivals stemming from a pre-Olympic exhibition series.

The three top teams in men's ice hockey, Canada, the United States and Russia, begin play Thursday.

Making Olympic History

In medals action Wednesday, Olympic history was made in Alpine skiing and figure skating.

Slovenia's Tina Maze and Switzerland's Dominique Gisin skied the downhill in 1 minute, 41.57 seconds, marking the first time an Olympic gold was shared in Alpine competition.  Switzerland's Lara Gut, one-tenth of a second behind, took the bronze.

Maze said it felt great to share the title with Gisin.

"It's [a] great feeling because with Dominique we are pretty good friends and the same generation and the same mentality, and it's nice to see her winning a gold, too," Maze said.  "It's two smiles, two happy faces, and that couldn't be better.  I'm happy for her, too."

Gisin also sounded thrilled.

"I do not know, I do not think I could have even dreamt of it.  I was prepared for the worst case, and now I live the dream.  It is better than dream it," she said.

Russian figure skating duo Tatiana Volosozhar and Maxim Trankov also rewrote the record books.  They won the pairs title, becoming the first figure skaters to win two gold medals at the same Olympics.

Elsewhere, Germany won its third gold in luge when Tobias Wendl and Tobias Arl took the men's doubles.  They finished just ahead of Austrian brothers Andreas and Wolfgang Linger, the reigning two-time Olympic champions.

American speed skater Shani Davis also failed in his bid for a third-straight gold medal, finishing eighth.  Stefan Groothuis of the Netherlands won the men's 1,000-meter event, giving the Dutch four of the five speed skating golds in Sochi.

In women's snowboarding halfpipe, Kaitlyn Farrington of the United States won the gold medal and her teammate, Kelly Clark, claimed bronze.  Defending champion Torah Bright of Australia won the silver.
 
Germany's Eric Frenzel won gold in Nordic Combined individual normal hill.   

Podladtchikov Speechless

Meanwhile, Swiss snowboarder Iouri Podladtchikov spoke to the media Wednesday, a day after pulling off one of the biggest shockers in Sochi.

In the men's halfpipe, Podladtchikov upset heavy favorite Shaun White, an American, to win the gold medal.  White placed fourth.

The Russian-born Podladtchikov, whose nickname is "I-POD," sounded incredulous about his victory.

"I have not really realized it yet that far," he said.  "I cannot really answer this question yet.  It is like I have been this kind of person all my life: I have to see it in order to believe it.  I have not even seen my run yet.  I have to see the medal, see what happened, see it again and again and then maybe I will be able to answer this question properly."

Norway leads in the overall medal count with 12, followed by Canada and the Netherlands with 10.  The United States and Russia have nine each, and Germany has eight.  Germany has the most gold medals with six.

There are 98 medal events at the Sochi Games, 12 more than in Vancouver in 2010.

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