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Canada’s best bets for final Sochi medals

USA forward Zach Parise skates off the ice as Canadian players celebrate after a men's semifinal ice hockey game at the 2014 Winter Olympics, Friday, Feb. 21, 2014, in Sochi, Russia. Canada won 1-0 to advance to the gold medal game.

It was a productive day at the office for Canada's Winter Olympians in Sochi on Friday. They won four more medals, including golds in men's curling and women's ski cross.

The output raises Canada's total medal count in the competition to 24 medals with just two days of competition remaining. And with its 1-0 victory over the United States, the men's hockey team advanced to the gold medal game against Sweden on Sunday, guaranteeing at least one more Canadian medal for the final count.

Although it is a respectable haul and had Canada sitting in third place overall in the medal race, it appears unlikely that Canada will be able to reach its goal of leaving Sochi with the most medals of any country. In fact, Canada may be hard-pressed to match its performance of four years ago at the Winter Olympics in Vancouver, when it captured 26 medals.

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Following Friday's events, Canada sat three medals behind the leader, the United States, and two behind Russia.

There are only 28 medals still to be handed out (not including the men's hockey competition) over the next two days, and Canada is not really considered a favourite in any of the remaining competitions.

Canada's best bet for an unexpected medal could be in the four-man bobsleigh, which is slated to start on Saturday with the first two of four runs. The event concludes on Sunday. There are three sleds qualified for the competition, and Bobsleigh Canada continues to tinker with the lineups in order to maximize its medal chances.

The CBC reported on Friday that brakemen Jesse Lumsden, Cody Sorensen and Ben Coakwell will now be teamed with pilot Justin Kripps on Canada 3.

Chris Spring had been the pilot with that trio through the World Cup season, but Kripps has been hot of late, winning his first-ever World Cup race in Germany in January.

Spring will now pilot Canada 1 with brakemen James McNaughton, Tim Randall, and Bryan Barnett, who in January pushed Kripps to victory in a two-man event in Germany.

Canada 2 will be piloted by Lyndon Rush with Lascelles Brown, Dave Bissett and Neville Wright.

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It will be tough for any of those teams to reach the podium with the likes of defending champion Steve Holcomb of the United States in the mix, not to mention the always tough sleds from Germany.

Canada could have a shot in the men's team pursuit in speedskating, when Denny Morrison will try to extend his medal take in Sochi to three.

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