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Canada-US hockey showdown highlights 5 things to watch at Sochi Olympics

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SOCHI, Russia - A look at five things to watch on Day 15 of the Sochi Olympics:

SEMIFINAL SHOWDOWN — Team Canada will meet the rival United States with a trip to the men's hockey gold-medal game on the line. Friday's semifinal is a rematch of the gold-medal game of the 2010 Vancouver Olympics, which Canada won 3-2 in Sidney Crosby's overtime goal. Canada will be without forward John Tavares, who suffered a season-ending injury in Canada's 2-1 quarter-final win over Latvia.

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CURLING SWEEP? — Brad Jacobs and his rink from Sault Ste. Marie, Ont., will try to defend Canada's Olympic men's curling title when they face Great Britain in Friday's gold-medal match. Canada got off to a rough start at the tournament but have since reeled off seven straight wins, including a 10-6 win over China in the semifinal. Canada is looking to sweep the Olympic curling titles for the first time ever following Jennifer Jones's win in the women's final on Thursday.

SECOND CHANCE — Canada will have another chance to add to its impressive freestyle skiing medal haul in Sochi when the women's skicross goes Friday. Canada's team features world championship silver medallist Marielle Thompson and former world champion Kelsey Serwa. They'll be looking to avenge the men's skicross team after Brady Leman just missed the podium on Thursday.

SHORT-TRACK REDEMPTION — Canada's short-track speedskating team hasn't quite lived up to expectations in Sochi, but there is a chance to improve on the two medals it has won so far. Valerie Maltais and Marie-Eve Drolet skate in the women's 1,000-metre quarter-finals. Maltais qualified for the quarters in an Olympic-record time. Meanwhile, Charle Cournoyer and Olivier Jean will represent Canada in the men's 500 quarter-finals.

PURSUING AN UPSET — Given their utter domination of long-track speedskating, it seems almost a foregone conclusion that the Netherlands will win the men's team pursuit. But Canada's team of Vincent De Haitre, Mathieu Giroux, Lucas Makowsky and Denny Morrison will have other ideas when the quarter-finals start Friday. Canada is the defending Olympic champion in the event, and Morrison has skated well in Sochi with two individual medals. Hey, at least the Dutch can't sweep the podium this time.

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Updated on Thursday, February 20, 2014 at 8:44 PM CST: Adds Storify.

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