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Saturday, February 16, 2002
Canada clinches semifinal berth

Associated Press

OGDEN, Utah -- Canada's unbeaten women curlers clinched a spot in the semifinals with a 9-4 victory over Japan Saturday while the Americans stayed in contention for a semifinal berth with two victories.

U.S. skip Kari Erickson made a game-breaking shot in the fifth to give the Americans an 8-0 lead on their way to an 11-4 rout of Russia in the morning to stop a three-match losing streak.

"It was very nice to pull out big shot," said Stacey Liapis, Erickson's sister and teammate. "We just haven't been able to pull them off for a while."

Then the Americans came back late to beat Germany 7-6 with a point in the final end. Germany and the United States are tied for the fourth with 4-3 records with two matches to go. The top four teams advance to the medal round starting Feb. 20.

The United States plays Britain on Sunday.

In other games, Britain beat Denmark 8-6 and Germany beat Sweden 7-5.

In late games, Canada beat Denmark 9-4, Sweden beat Switzerland 8-7 and Norway beat winless Japan 8-5.

Canada, the defending gold medalist, has a 8-0 record with Britain and Switzerland at 5-2.

In men's games, Denmark defeated the United States 9-7, putting the Americans (3-4) in seventh place with just two games remaining. Sweden defeated Finland 11-4, Switzerland beat Britain 10-4 and Norway beat Germany 10-5.

Germany and Switzerland are tied at 4-3 for the fourth and final semifinal slot.