Wednesday, February 22, 2006

A humdinger of a golden final

This one, to be contested Friday, should be a humdinger.

The Canadians finally fired on all cylinders here tonight, reminding one and all just how they steamrolled their way to the Olympic Trials championship back in December. A stubborn Pete Fenson hung in as long as he could, but was already overwhelmed by the time the five-ender was even a reality. 11-5 Canada and a date in the final... and another chance for Canada's first-ever men's gold.

In the other semi, Great Britain's David Murdoch faced off against Finland. Markku Uusipaavalniemi (photo) is indeed a blur as he and his mates love to throw it high and hard, and this ice is perfect for them. But today they mixed their gunfire with a calm, unflappable draw game, and when Markku dropped a steal in the ninth for a 3-3 tie, one got the distinct impression he wasn't too rankled.

Indeed, after a nifty hit and freeze by Murdoch in the 10th, Markku couldn't throw his favoured hit to win the game, and instead covered the pin – almost nonchalalantly – with his final shot. It was a victory which no one would have ever predicted in the years, weeks and days leading up to now.

The Finns are for real; Canada is now for real, and the stage is set for a real showpiece. But first, there's tomorrow's bronze and gold medal women's games.

Until then...

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