Hours after Vonn tumbled into the safety netting in the giant slalom and was taken for X-rays, the hockey guys found themselves in trouble against Switzerland. The game was scoreless a couple minutes into the third period until Parise broke through. He added an empty-net goal in the closing seconds to seal a 2-0 victory and put the Americans into the semifinals.
Next up is the winner of Finland and Czech Republic later Wednesday. NBC already has said it will show the game live, in all time zones, at noon PST Friday.
Vonn’s status isn’t so clear.
She broke her right pinkie finger in Wednesday’s crash, and it wasn’t immediately known if she will ski her final event — the slalom — on Friday.
Vonn landed on her left hip and battered her chin with a ski as she fell. She’s already been dealing with a bruised right shin. The cover girl coming into these Winter Games, Vonn’s scorecard so far shows two medals (a gold and a bronze) and two wipeouts.
Thick fog forced the second leg of the giant slalom to be delayed until today. More delays might end up giving Vonn more time to heal, as happened with her shin, but there isn’t much time left in the Olympics.
In the event finals completed so far Wednesday, Germany picked up another medal, making 24 overall. The Americans are stuck at 26. Both countries are tied for the most gold with seven.
The best hopes for the United States was in the women’s bobsled later in the day. But even that is muted by the fact Germany might win the other two medals.
The other big event Wednesday was the hockey game between international superpowers Canada and Russia, with only one advancing.
Swiss goalie Jonas Hiller kept the game scoreless by stuffing Parise several times, with two more of Parise’s shots clanking against the goal posts.
Then there was the shot that Hiller tried swatting away, but it went off his shoulder and into the net — a millisecond or two after the second period ended.
Parise scored 2:08 into the final period by redirecting a shot by Brian Rafalski early in a power play. Switzerland fought to tie it, but Ryan Miller made 19 saves and Parise scored again with 11.2 seconds left.
“We were close to getting frustrated,” Miller said.
Now the Americans are two wins from their first Olympic gold medal since the “Miracle on Ice” in 1980.
In addition to the game between Finland and Czech Republic, Sweden and Slovakia were meeting even later to determine who would play the Russia-Canada winner.
The coach who cost Sven Kramer the gold medal in speedskating’s 10,000 meters will be keeping his job.
Kramer said Wednesday that Gerard Kemkers has helped him too much to end their relationship over one mistake, no matter how colossal it was.
“I don’t want to blame anyone,” Kramer said. “That doesn’t help you to move on from this.”
What would help — winning the team pursuit Friday.
“Definitely,” Kramer said.
At the 2006 Turin Games, Kramer stepped on a lane marker and fell during the semifinals of the pursuit, keeping his country out of the gold-medal race.
Kramer also said he would be apologizing and giving a small present to a volunteer worker at the track that he shoved aside and shouted at following his disqualification.
Martina Sablikova of the Czech Republic captured her second gold medal in Vancouver, adding the 5,000 meters to the 3,000 title she’s already won.
Stephanie Beckert of Germany got silver, and defending Olympic champion Clara Hughes of Canada thrilled the crowd by taking bronze.
Jilleanne Rookard was the top American, finishing eighth.
Marcus Hellner was so far ahead at the end of his anchor leg that he had time to collect a Swedish flag to wave as he skied to the finish of the team relay, earning his second gold medal of these Olympics.
Norway got silver, and the Czech Republic took bronze.
The Americans were 13th.