Canada clinched at least a silver medal with an 11-5 victory over the United States, forcing the Americans to play Britain for third place. It would be the first Olympic curling medal - men's or women's - for the United States.
But a loss on Friday and United States would go home empty handed: its highly touted women's team failed to qualify for the medal round.
Canada wrapped it up with a whopping five points in the ninth end - one short of the Olympic record - when the Americans, forced to play from behind, had to take chances. The U.S. players quickly conceded the match.
Canada will play for gold Friday against Finland, which used the big last-rock advantage to score on the game's final throw to beat the British 4-3.
In the women's semifinals, Anette Norberg's takeout on the final shot of the game gave Sweden a 5-4 win over Norway. The Swedes advanced to today's gold medal match against Switzerland, which beat Canada 7-5. Norway plays Canada in today's bronze medal game.
Ohno advances to quarterfinals
ON THE ICE: Apolo Anton Ohno safely advanced from his heat in 500-meter short track, giving him two more chances to win medals on the next-to-last night of the Olympics.
In his only race, Ohno was third off the starting line, but surged past two skaters to grab the lead with just over a lap to go.
Ohno, who already has captured a bronze medal, advanced to the quarterfinals of the 500 on Saturday night. He's also part of the U.S. 5,000 relay team, which already qualified for the medal final.
In the women's 3,000-meter, South Korea took another gold, its fourth short track gold medal of the Games to equal the best performance ever in the sport. Canada took silver while Italy picked up the bronze.
QUICK HITS: In the women's 1,000, Americans Kim Hyo-jung and Kimberly Derrick advanced to the quarterfinals.
UP NEXT: Saturday, men's 500m, men's 5,000 relay, women's 1000m.
Schoch brothers dominate
ON THE SLOPES: It was only a matter of which Schoch would take the title, and defending Olympic champion Philipp Schoch pulled it out, defeating older brother Simon.
Simon Schoch, 27, of Switzerland has been the stronger racer this season, but slid wide on a gate in the first run against his 26-year-old brother.
Austrian Siegfried Grabner took bronze.
QUICK HITS: Tyler Jewell, the only American in the event, made the finals by finishing ninth in morning qualifying, but lost in the first round of heat races.
UP NEXT: Today, women's parallel giant slalom.
Canada, Sweden take sprints
ON THE SNOW: Chandra Crawford upstaged two of her better-known teammates and pulled off an upset in the women's 1.1km sprint, earning Canada's first cross-country gold medal of the Games.
Crawford finished .7 seconds ahead of silver medalist Claudia Kuenzel of Germany. Russia's Alena Sidko took the bronze.
Sweden's Bjoern Lind easily took the gold medal in the men's 1.3km sprint race after rival Tor Arne Hetland's fall in the semifinals. Lind beat silver medalist Roddy Darragon of France, who was .6 seconds back. Thobias Fredriksson, also from Sweden, took the bronze.
QUICK HITS: American Kikkan Randall reached the semifinals with two great races in the qualifying round and quarterfinals, finishing ninth overall for the best Olympic result by a U.S. woman in cross-country.
UP NEXT: Friday, women's 30km.
Swiss woman wins aerials
ON THE SLOPES: Evelyne Leu of Switzerland beat her Chinese rival to win the gold medal in aerials, adding the last missing piece to an already stellar career.
Leu, whose last appearance at the Olympics was marked by a world-record performance in qualifying but a bust in finals, saved her best stuff for the right night. She landed a triple backflip with three twists on her second of two jumps to put her in the lead with four jumpers left.
None could overcome her - including rival Li Nina of China, who finished second, or Alisa Camplin of Australia, who finished third.
QUICK HITS: There were no Americans in the finals. Neither Emily Cook nor Jana Lindsey made the top 12 in qualifying the night before.
UP NEXT: Today, men's aerials.
Klassen wins fourth medal
ON THE ICE: Cindy Klassen added a gold medal to the bronze and two silvers, winning the women's 1,500-meter with a dominant performance ahead of Canadian teammate Kristina Groves.
Ireen Wust of the Netherlands, gold medalist in the 3,000 meters, took bronze, knocking favorite Anni Friesinger of Germany out of the medals.
QUICK HITS: Klassen's four medals are a record for a Canadian woman and she still has the 5,000 left on Saturday.
UP NEXT: Friday, men's 10,000m.
Pearson finally gets her gold
ON THE SLOPES: Sweden's Anja Paerson finally won her gold medal and beat her longtime rival in the process with a pair of dominant runs through floodlit fog in the women's slalom. Janica Kostelic of Croatia, whose six medals in two Olympics are the most by any women's Alpine skier, failed to win a medal for the first time in her last seven events. She was fourth.
Austrians Nicole Hosp and Marlies Schild were second and third.
QUICK HITS: Austria won its 100th and 101st Olympic Alpine medals, nearly double the next-biggest total, Switzerland's 53.
UP NEXT: Friday, women's giant slalom.