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The Canadian Press - ONLINE EDITION

Denied again: Canada wins figure skating silver despite golden hopes

SOCHI, Russia - Silver will look good around his neck but Patrick Chan had golden expectations at the Sochi Olympics.

The three-time world champion from Toronto settled for a silver medal after a fall and several mistakes in the free skate cost him a chance to win Canada's first Olympic gold medal in men's singles figure skating Friday.

One day after Canada was shut out of the medals, it added its 11th of the Games. The door was open for Chan to take gold after Japan's Yuzuru Hanyu fell twice during his program, but Chan's mistakes kept him from making up the difference.

Hanyu ended up taking gold, in part because of the world record he set during Thursday's short program.

Chan was visibly disappointed, even though the result is better than his fifth-place showing in the 2010 Vancouver Games.

"Today was a tough day," Chan said, adding that he didn't sleep well on Thursday night. "We all made mistakes. Maybe it's the pressure of the Olympic Games. For sure we had a tight turn around between the short program and the free program."

But he wasn't having any talk about a "curse" on Canadian male skaters.

"I find it funny that Canadian skaters have been labelled as cursed just because we can't achieve gold at this one event," he said. "I think we tend to forget about all of the great athletes that Canada has. This is only one event. There are several successful Canadian men, myself included, that changed the sport of figure skating."

Canada is still among the medal leaders ahead of the Olympic midway mark Saturday. The United States and Norway were tied for the lead with 13 apiece, followed by the Netherlands and host Russia with 12.

Canada has four gold, five silver and two bronze.

There were no medals involved but Canada's men's hockey team appears in good shape to challenge for one.

Jeff Carter, who played the fewest minutes on the team, scored a hat trick as Canada overwhelmed Austria 6-0 to improve to 2-0.

Drew Doughty, Shea Weber and Ryan Getzlaf also scored for Canada while Roberto Luongo made 23 saves. It's still unclear if Luongo or Carey Price will start Sunday when Canada plays Finland for first place in Group B.

Canada had its critics after opening the tournament Thursday with a 3-1 win over Norway. But Carter responded with the first natural hat trick by a Canadian men's Olympic hockey player since Paul Knox did it in 1956, also against Austria.

"It just kind of happened," said Carter. "I was in the right place at the right time for pretty much all of them."

Drew Doughty, Shea Weber and Ryan Getzlaf had the other goals while Roberto Luongo stopped 23 shots for the shutout.

"I didn't want to blow that six-goal lead in the third," Luongo joked.

Price was in goal against Norway and it's unclear who'll play Sunday when Canada plays Finland for the top spot in Group B.

A run at a gold medal also once again seems possible after a terrible start for Brad Jacobs' rink from Sault Ste. Marie, Ont.

Jacobs hammered Norway's Thomas Ulsrud 10-4 to win his third straight game. Jacobs is now 4-2 and trails China, Britain and Sweden, who are all tied for first at 5-1.

Jacobs capped a see-saw seventh end with a double takeout to score four against Norway. After opening 1-2, Jacobs' team won three straight to move into playoff contention.

"That was the most emotional we've been because it's a big shot in our biggest game yet," Jacobs said. "We're not out here to be phoney.

"That's who we are and that's a big game and that's a big shot. I think we were all kind of waiting to explode in this tournament. It was the right time too."

Winnipeg's Jennifer Jones, an impressive 5-0 in the women's competition, was off Friday.

The results were less promising for Canada's men's cross-country team, which for the second straight race had issues with its choice of wax.

Alex Harvey of St-Ferreol-les-Neiges, Que., was forced to retire after 10 kilometres of the 15-kilometre classical style race. Devon Kershaw of Sudbury, Ont., meanwhile stayed on the course but finished well back in 35th place.

Harvey retired when he saw he was losing time badly on the descents. He was quickly caught by Alexey Poltoranin, who started 30 seconds after him, and Norway's Chris Andre Jespersen.

"I lost 15 seconds right away to Poltoranin," said Harvey. "And later Jespersen, who finished sixth, passed me on the short descent just before the long, one-kilometre climb.

"I kept up on the climb without losing ground, but then lost another 10 seconds on the next descent."

Seeing his struggle was hopeless, Harvey decided to save his energy for other events. Canada's best remaining shot at a medal would appear to be the team sprint Wednesday, a fact not lost upon Harvey.

"I've said since the beginning that our best chance is in the team sprint," said Harvey. "Now it's not just our best chance, it's our only chance."

It was also a day to forget for Canadians Sarah Reid and Melissa Hollingsworth. Reid, of Calgary, was seventh in the women's skeleton event while Hollingsworth, a native of Eckville, Alta., and an '06 bronze medallist, finished 11th.

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