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Olympic Daily Preview - Saturday, February 22nd

<p>Medals will be handed out in six events on Saturday, the penultimate day of the Sochi Olympics.</p>

Sochi, Russia (SportsNetwork.com) - Medals will be handed out in six events on Saturday, the penultimate day of the Sochi Olympics.

Gold has once again escaped the grasp of Team USA and the men's hockey team will now try to avoid leaving the Sochi Olympics without a medal at all as they battle Finland in the bronze medal game on Saturday.

The United States squared off against Canada on Friday in a rematch of the 2010 gold medal game. And like those Vancouver Games, Canada got the better of the U.S. by handing the Americans a 1-0 setback.

Jonathan Quick was solid in net for the U.S. and posted 36 saves, but an offense that tied Finland for the most goals in the preliminary round (15) failed to get a shot by Canadian netminder Carey Price.

Looking to secure a chance at winning its first Olympic gold medal, Finland instead saw its offense struggle as well in a 2-1 setback to Sweden on Friday.

Without goaltender Tuukka Rask due to illness, Finland got 23 stops from Kari Lehtonen. Olli Jokinen was the lone Finn to beat Swede goaltender Henrik Lundqvist, who made 25 saves.

Finland is looking to secure an Olympic medal for the fifth time in the last six Olympic Games. The Finns won bronze in 2010 after taking silver four years prior.

The U.S., which has not won gold since the 1980 Games in Lake Placid, won silver in 2002 and four years ago in Vancouver after being held without a medal in 2006.

The last time the Americans won a bronze medal was in 1936.

Ted Ligety gave the U.S. alpine skiing team its first gold in Sochi with his win in the giant slalom on Wednesday and will look to build off that performance Saturday in the men's slalom.

Fellow American Bode Miller was expected to compete against his countrymate in the slalom, but tweaked his surgically repaired left knee in Wednesday's giant slalom, leaving the 36-year-old six-time Olympic medalist unable to ski.

With Miller out, Ligety has the best chance to bring the U.S. its first medal in men's slalom since the 1984 Sarajevo Games, when twin brothers Phillip and Steven Mahre won gold and silver, respectively.

Italy's Giuliano Razzoli will try to defend his slalom gold from Vancouver, while 35-year-old Benjamin Raich will be looking for a repeat of the 2006 Games when he led an Austrian medal sweep in the slalom.

Frenchmen Steve Missillier and Alexis Pinturault, who won silver and bronze, respectively, in the giant slalom, will attempt to find the podium again in Saturday's slalom.

Snowboard parallel slalom makes its Olympic debut on Saturday and will see a champion crowed on both the men's and women's sides.

American-born snowboarder Vic Wild captured gold for Olympic host Russia on Wednesday in the parallel giant slalom and is a favorite to medal again Saturday.

The 27-year-old was born in White Salmon, Wash. and married Russian snowboarder Alena Zavarzina in 2011. Wild was granted Russian citizenship two years ago, allowing him to compete for the host nation.

Zavarzina, who won bronze in the women's PGS, will also be looking to double her medal count on the women's side at Rosa Khutor Extreme Park.

Other medal hopefuls on the men's side include Swiss Philipp Schoch, who won gold in the PGS in 2002 and 2006, and countrymate Nevin Galmarini, the silver medalist behind Wild in the PGS in Sochi.

On the women's side, Patrizia Kummer of Switzerland will look to build off her gold from Wednesday's PGS, when she topped Tomoka Takeuchi of Japan in the big final.

Dutch Nicolien Sauerbreij and Russian Ekaterina Ilyukhina, the silver and bronze medalists, respectively, in the PGS at Vancouver, are also medal hopefuls heading into Saturday.

Justin Reiter is the only snowboarder -- male or female -- for the U.S. in the competition.

Saturday's slate also features the final event in women's cross-country skiing, as Poland's Justyna Kowalczyk will attempt to defend her gold from Vancouver in the 30-kilometer mass start.

Kowalczyk captured gold in the 10-km classic earlier in Sochi and was a bronze medalist in the 30-km mass start in 2006, when the event was last skied freestyle. The mass start was skied in the classic technique in 2010.

Kowalczyk's stiffest competition will likely come from reigning mass start sliver medalist Marit Bjoergen.

The 33-year-old Norwegian already has two golds under her belt in Sochi after winning the skiathlon on Feb. 8 and combining with countrymate Ingvild Flugstad Oestberg to capture the team sprint on Wednesday.

Finland's Aino-Kaisa Saarinen, the reigning bronze medalist, has a pair of silvers in Sochi and also will compete in the mass free against Kowalczyk.

Kikkan Randall and Jessica Diggins are among four Americans in the race.

The final day of speedskating will see medals handed out in the men's and women's team pursuit.

On the men's side, the Netherlands claimed easy victories in the quarterfinals and semifinals on Friday and will square off with South Korea in Saturday's gold medal race. Canada, the defending gold medalists in the event, will battle Poland for bronze.

As for the women, semifinal races will be held to decide the two teams who will race for gold later Saturday. The Dutch speedskating trio of Jorien ter Mors, Lotte van Beek and Ireen Wust set an Olympic record Friday in the quarterfinals and will take on Japan, while Russia and Poland will battle in the other semifinal.

The final biathlon event of the Sochi Games takes place Saturday, with Norway looking to defend its gold from Vancouver in the men's 4x7.5-kilometer relay.

Ole Einar Bjoerndalen picked up his record 13th medal in the Winter Olympics by leading Norway to gold in the first-ever biathlon mixed relay on Wednesday and can tie the overall gold medal record with his ninth on Saturday.

The 40-year-old Bjoerndalen, competing in his sixth Olympic Games, moved past cross-country skiing compatriot Bjorn Daehlie for the most medals all-time among Winter Olympians.

American men had seen little success in Olympic bobsled before Steven Holcomb piloted his four-man USA-1 sled to a victory at the Vancouver Games -- the first U.S. Olympic gold medal in men's bobsled in 62 years.

Holcomb will look to navigate his sled into medal contention as the four-man competition gets underway Saturday with the first two runs. Medals will be awarded after the final two runs on Sunday.

The 33-year-old Holcomb won his second Olympic medal on Monday, a bronze with Steven Langton in the two-man. That also ended a 62-year American drought as the country's first Olympic two-man medal since 1952.

The second U.S. four-man sled will be piloted Saturday by Nick Cunningham. Canadians Lyndon Rush, Dave Bissett and Lascelles Brown, who were on the men's four-man team that won bronze in 2010, are back for another go.

Germany had won four straight Olympic gold medals in four-man bobsled before Holcomb's sled ended the streak in 2010.

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