Fiddler's Facts: P.E.I. fans thrilled with Olympic success

Fred
Fred MacDonald
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Women's hockey team, bobsledders capture gold medals

It has been quite the past few days for Prince Edward Island sport fans.

Canadians from one end of this vast country to the other will long remember as Canada’s women’s hockey team and the bobsled duo of Summerside’s Heather Moyse and Calgary’s Kaillie Humphries snatched victories from the jaws of defeat.

The bobsled duo trailed their American rivals heading into Wednesday’s final two runs, needing a flawless descent down the ice and a few mistakes from the leaders to land the gold. That’s exactly what happened as they captured Olympic gold in Sochi, Russia. For Moyse, who rebounded from major hip surgery in the off-season, it was sweet satisfaction as she and Humphries became the first bobsled team to ever win back-to-back Olympic gold.

Thursday’s gold medal Olympic women’s hockey game between arch-rivals Canada and the U.S. proved beyond a doubt that women’s hockey can generate just as must interest, if not more, than the men’s game, if the right matchup is in place.

Canada-U.S. was a thriller from start to finish and for most of the game it looked as though the U.S. would win.

The Americans led 2-0 with less than four minutes to go and even the most passionate and loyal Canada fans had their doubts. A fluke Canadian goal closed the gap to 2-1 and in the final minute, with the Canadian net empty, the U.S. hit the post. Oh, the heartbreak, if you were an American fan. In the final seconds, Canada scored to tie the game sending the contest into four-on-four sudden death overtime.

In the first minutes of overtime, the Americans swarmed the Canadian net, but goaltender Shannon Szabados saved the day with at least three brilliant saves. Midway through overtime, and with Canada on a power play, Quebec City’s Marie-Philip Poulin sank the winner, her second of the game, to give Canada the victory.

The game had everything and will go down as one of the most exciting Olympic contests regardless of gender in modern day Olympic hockey history.

The Canadian men’s hockey team beat the U.S. 1-0 in Friday’s semifinal to advance to Sunday’s gold medal game with Sweden.

Canada has struggled offensively to date as evident by that 2-1 win over Latvia in the quarter-final. Forget about the shots on goal, it’s Latvia, hardly a hockey power.

Canada looked very ordinary in wins over Norway and Austria and they will have to come alive offensively.

Olympic talk

Prince Edward Island sport fans at home or at their favourite watering holes will be discussing the Olympics. Here are some of the most likely topics.

– Heather Moyse and Kaillie Humphries winning back-to-back Olympic gold.

– P.K. Subban’s lack of playing time and obvious snub by the Team Canada management.

– The lack of scoring by Team Canada against vastly inferior competition like Latvia, Norway and Austria.

– The ordinary play of Sidney Crosby. Most analysts think the U.S. competition and the gold- medal game against Sweden will bring out his best. This is Crosby country, so we hope so.

– The Jennifer Jones rink and their unbeaten Olympic roll in curling.

– The outstanding shot-making by the China men’s curling team, especially in its first match against Canada and skip Brad Jacobs, whose rink was equally brilliant in the narrow 9-8 victory.

– U.S. hockey forward T.J. Oshie scoring four goals in six shootout tries in an exciting 3-2 win over Russia.

– The curling sweep by Team Canada.

Harness racing

No live harness racing today at Red Shores at the Charlottetown Driving Park. But there’s plenty of simulcast action this afternoon from Flamboro and this evening from Yonkers, The Meadowlands and from Woodbine.

The Toronto $22,000 feature goes in Race 10 and it has horses like Cougar Hall (Jack Moiseyev), Casimir Jitterbug (Doug McNair), Thorn in Your Side (Anthony MacDonald), McKinney (Jody Jamieson) and three others.

At The Meadowlands, The $30,000 top class goes in Race 2 where high-powered aged pacer Golden Receiver makes his debut as the even money favourite from post five in the six-horse field.

At Yonkers, Mark MacDonald is still on the shelf and it will be a little while yet before he returns from jaw surgery.

The breeding season is upon us in Atlantic Canada as broodmare owners are now selecting or about to select stallions in which to breed their mares. Jamie MacKinley has landed the millionaire pacer Image of Dawn (p, 1:50 and change), a Life Sign stallion with a great racing reputation. Image of Dawn was a stakes winner at two and three and banked $1.2 million in a career that saw him win the open at Yonkers and at The Meadowlands.

Earlier this week, I talked with Reg Petitpas, the co-owner of the great Somebeachsomewhere, and he told me the Sportswriter colt he has in Florida training under the care of Steve Mahar is some impressive.

Matt Telford, who trains for Greg McNair in Florida, told me as well the Sportswriters babies  they have are impressive — great gaited, size, attitude.

When Casey Coleman was here two weeks ago at the O’Brien Awards she gave me glowing reports about the Sportswriter colts and fillies that she was prepping for the 2014 campaign.

Sportswriter (p, 1:48:3) is a world champion son of Artsplace (by Abercrombie) out of a Jate Lobell mare, the same breeding as Image of Dawn, Life Sign (Abercrombie) out of a Jate Lobell. Image of Dawn is standing at Jamie MacKinley’s farm at Cornwall for a $1000 stud fee. Check him out.

Charlottetown’s harness racing community was saddened to learn of the passing earlier this week of Don Belanger, who operated the Gold Cup and Saucer restaurant at the Charlottetown track for more than a decade. To his wife, Sis, and all connected, my condolences.

Fred MacDonald's column appears in

The Guardian each Saturday. He can be

reached at fiddlersfacts@hotmail.com.

Organizations: Team Canada, The Meadowlands.Earlier

Geographic location: Atlantic Canada, U.S., Prince Edward Island Russia Calgary Latvia Sochi Norway Austria Yonkers Quebec City Sweden Florida China Charlottetown Driving Park Toronto Charlottetown

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