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February 17, 2014

Russia's chances nearly dead on ice

SOCHI, Russia (AP) — Russia is having a tough time winning on the Olympic ice, and the Netherlands can’t seem to lose.

The Russians were forced into a second straight shootout on Sunday and now must play an extra game to reach the men’s hockey quarterfinals. The Dutch speedskaters have fared much better, earning a third sweep of the podium at the Sochi Games.

With hockey-crazed Russian crowds packing the arenas, Canada, Sweden, the United States and Finland advanced to the hockey quarterfinals. They’ll be joined by the winners of a four-game qualifying round next Tuesday among the eight remaining teams.

Russia lost its chance to skip the qualifying round when it was forced into a shootout by Slovakia, winning 1-0. That allowed Finland to claim the bye on goal difference. Canada, Sweden and the U.S. all finished the qualifying round undefeated.

At the Adler Arena, Dutch skaters swept the podium in the women’s 1,500 meters. Overall, the Dutch have won an astounding 16 speedskating medals in Sochi out of 24 awarded so far, smashing the Olympic record of 13 set by East Germany at the 1988 Calgary Games.

Two snowboarders were taken off the slope on stretchers Sunday following crashes during qualifying rounds for the snowboardcross finals. One suffered a concussion, the other an injured knee. It was the same slope where Russian skicross racer Maria Komissarova fractured a vertebra in her back during a training crash Saturday. She was airlifted to a German hospital Sunday for further treatment.

Elsewhere on Day 10 of the Sochi Olympics, Norwegian skier Kjetil Jansrud earned his country’s fourth consecutive Olympic title in men’s super-G; Czech snowboarder Eva Samkova won her country’s first gold medal of the games; and Sweden took gold in the men’s 4x10-kilometer cross-country relay.

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