The Canadian men’s long-track speed skating pursuit team skated its final race here Saturday prior to attempting to defending its Olympic title at the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympic Games in February.

Canada was eighth in Berlin with a time of three minutes, 46.80 seconds in the six-lap event. The Netherlands took gold, followed by Korea and Poland. Canada earned a quota spot for Sochi with the result.

 

Mathieu Giroux of Pointe-aux-Trembles, Que, Jordan Belchos of Toronto and Lucas Makowsky of Regina skated for Canada. Makowsky and Giroux were on the winning team in Vancouver in 2010.

 

“Today's 1000m was one of the toughest races of my career. The good news, regardless, is that I'm not far, in time, off the podium and now I know exactly where I need to improve to regain that time,” said Denny Morrison. “I have unwavering faith in my program and the incredible support team around me. Today was a success for our Team Pursuit team as Jordan Belchos, Mathieu Giroux and Lucas Makowski stepped up under pressure and secured an Olympic spot for Canada in Sochi - proving that no matter which 3 of the 4 of us skate a Team Pursuit race, we all have what it takes to get the job done.”

 

Canada’s women’s team will skate their final race today. They have already qualified for Sochi.

 

Expected to skate for Canada will be Brittany Schussler of Winnipeg, Ivanie Blondin of Ottawa and Kali Christ of Regina. Schussler trails fellow Canadian Christine Nesbitt of London, Ont., in all-time World Cup Team Pursuit medals — 17 to 14. Nesbitt has opted to continue training in Calgary.

 

“Sunday’s race will determine how they are seeded,” Speed Skating Canada long-track program director Sean Ireland said. “The individuals who will comprise the pursuit teams at the Games will be determined after the Olympic trials.

 

The Canadian women are coming off a silver medal performance in Salt Lake City on Nov. 17. Canada has the most women’s Team Pursuit wins in World Cup history with 11. The Netherlands follows at 10. The Netherlands hasn’t lost a women’s Team Pursuit in 2013.

 

Sunday’s other events are men’s 500m, men’s 5000m and women’s 1000m.

 

William Dutton of Humboldt, Sask., who will skate in the A 500m Sunday after winning the B group on Friday, was 15th in the A 1000m on Saturday in 1:10.34. Denny Morrison of Fort St. John, B.C., placed 20th.

 

Schussler was 11th in A 1500m while Calgary’s Kaylin Irvine finished 18th in A 500m.

 

Christ reached the podium in the B 1500m, placing third in 1:58.29. The B 1500m winner, Jorien ter Mors of the Netherlands, posted a time (1:54.88) that would have won the women’s A group.

 

Marsha Hudey, also of Regina, was eighth in the B 500m.

 

This World Cup is the final competition for the Canadians prior to the Intact Insurance Speed Skating Trials, which are the Olympic trials, which are in Dec. 28-Jan. 3.

 

For live results from Berlin visit www.isuresults.eu

 

Canadian roster for ISU Essent World Cup, Berlin, Germany:

 

Women:

Ivanie Blondin, Ottawa

Kali Christ, Regina

Marsha Hudey, Regina

Kaylin Irvine, Calgary

Brittany Schussler, Winnipeg

 

Men:

Jordan Belchos, Toronto

William Dutton, Humboldt, Sask.

Mathieu Giroux, Pointe-aux-Trembles, Que.

Lucas Makowsky, Regina.

Denny Morrison, Fort St. John, B.C.

 

Athlete bios can be found at : http://www.speedskating.ca/national-team andhttp://www.speedskating.ca/development-team-0