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Beijing Rewind, Feb. 14: Shiffrin's downhill debut, US adds to medal count

American Mikaela Shiffrin finished far from the podium in an unfamiliar Olympic discipline, but expressed cautious optimism for the upcoming Alpine combined event.

BEIJING, China — Team USA added to its medal count on Monday thanks to a surprise podium finisher. And the U.S. women's hockey team punched their ticket to the gold medal match against a familiar foe. 

The U.S. ended Monday with 16 total medals at the Beijing Games with six days to go. Seven of those are gold and three are in brand new Olympics events -- mixed team aerials, mixed team snowboardcross and women's monobob.

US women win their way to another Canada showdown

The U.S. women’s hockey team defeated Finland 4-1 in a semifinal match, setting up the sixth gold medal showdown between the Americans and — who else? —  Canada. 

The predictable final matchup is part of a fierce rivalry which dates to the Americans defeating Canada at the 1998 Nagano Games, the first to feature women’s hockey. While the Americans are the defending champs, Canada is considered the favorite in Beijing.

RELATED: Rules of the game: 10 hockey terms to know

American-born Eileen Gu one medal away from history

Eileen Gu, a U.S native who competes for her mother's home country of China, found herself in the spotlight this Olympics after winning gold in women’s freestyle big air. She's on a mission to be the first action-sports star to win three medals in one Olympics... and that goal is one step closer. 

Gu took home her second medal -- this time silver -- from the Beijing Games in the women’s ski slopestyle competition. Gold went to Switzerland's Mathilde Gremaud. 

RELATED: Why is Eileen Gu competing for China over the United States?

Americans miss the medal podium in men's snowboard big air

Su Yiming gave host China its second gold medal at Big Air Shougang, matching Eileen Gu with a stunning show Tuesday.

Dutch rider Mons Roisland got the silver medal in big air snowboarding and Max Parrot of Canada took home the bronze. 

Americans Red Gerard and Chris Corning finished in fifth and seventh, respectively. 

RELATED: Why Olympic athletes are getting pandas instead of medals

Back-to-back champ in women's snowboard big air 

Anna Gasser of Austria has won her second straight Olympic gold medal in women’s snowboarding big air.

The 30-year-old Gasser held off a field with an average age of 21, including 20-year-old Zoi Sadowski Synnott of New Zealand, who last week won her country’s first ever Winter Olympics gold medal in slopestyle. Synnott took silver, and 17-year-old Kokomo Murase of Japan earned her first Olympic medal: Bronze. 

American Hailey Langland finished 12th. 

RELATED: These are the eye-popping speeds of Winter Olympics sports

Mikaela Shiffrin makes Olympic downhill debut

American Mikaela Shiffrin finished far from the podium in an unfamiliar discipline, but expressed cautious optimism for the upcoming Alpine combined event. 

Shiffrin finished 18th in women's downhill skiing, right behind fellow American Keely Cashman. 

A two-time gold medalist in Alpine skiing, Shiffrin did not finish her opening runs in either of her first two Beijing events, the two-leg giant slalom and slalom. She then finished ninth in the super-G, another race she hadn’t previously entered at an Olympics.

RELATED: Mikaela Shiffrin competes in downhill for first time at Olympics

Megan Nick brings home another US medal

American Megan Nick flipped her way to a surprise bronze medal in women’s aerials. A three-somersault jump landed China's Xu Mengtao gold -- making her the first woman from China to win the aerial skiing event. 

Moments after Xu's winning jump, American Ashley Caldwell bent backward on her landing and her back hit the snow on the final run of the night. Four nights earlier, Caldwell had won gold in the mixed team competition. On this night, she finished fourth.

“The worst and the best positions you can get,” the four-time Olympian said. She hugged her longtime competitor Xu tightly at the bottom.

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