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Minnesotans at the Olympics: Thursday preview


Men's and women's curling along with women's hockey highlighted Wednesday Olympic activities for Minnesotans, with only the men's curling team coming out on top, women's hockey losing to Canada 3-2 and women's curling remaining winless after falling to China 7-4.

Thursday, the much awaited debut of the U.S. men's hockey team commences, Leif Nordgren of Marine on St. Croix participates in his third biathlon event of the Games, and both the men's and women's curling teams return to the ice to try and turn around their Olympic fate,

DAY 6:

The men's hockey team, highlighted by Wild stars Zach Parise and Ryan Suter, finally get their chance to step on the ice and compete in the 2014 Games. Slovakia will be the opponent, and they'll be missing former Wild star Marian Gaborik, who didn't recover from a broken collarbone in time to participate in Sochi. Aside from Parise and Suter, Minnesota natives David Backes, T.J. Oshie, Blake Wheeler, Justin Faulk, Paul Martin, Ryan Mcdonagh, and Derek Stepan also give the U.S. team a local connection, along with former Gopher Phil Kessel. Oshie, Parise, and Backes are expected to be on a line for the U.S., while Martin is likely to be paired with Cam Fowler on defense, McDonagh will reportedly skate with John Carlson, and Faulk will form a pair with Brooks Orpik. The U.S.-Slovakia game can be seen on NBC Sports Network at 6:30 a.m. Another Minnesota connection, Wild center Mikael Granlund, will be playing just a few hours before the stars and stripes drop the puck.

Leif Nordgren of Marine on St. Croix is once again in biathlon action, this time taking to the snow for the 20-kilometer individual race. Nordgren has already raced twice for the U.S., coming in 53rd in the 12.5-kilometer pursuit and 45th in the 10-kilometer sprint Sunday. Competitors start at 8 a.m. central time, and Nordgren will leave the starting line at 8:31 a.m., a race that can be seen at 2 p.m. on NBC.

The men's curling team, currently 1-2 after a 9-5 win over Denmark today, gets no rest as they are back to work Thursday. Currently in seventh-place of 10 teams, the U.S., led by four Minnesotans, take on Great Britain at 4 a.m., a match being carried live on USA Network.

The women's team is in the cellar of the curling standings, sitting at 0-4 and one of just two participating countries (Denmark) to not have a win. Eden Prairie native Allison Pottinger and Minneapolis native Jessica Schultz look for victory No. 1 against Japan, who are 2-1 and third in the curling table. The match is at 9 a.m. and can be seen on replay at 4 p.m. on CNBC.

Results of these and more events coming tomorrow afternoon.

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