|Korean team makes a final spurt to beat Canada in the men's speed skating team pursuit semi-finals during the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics on Saturday. (Yonhap)|
The men's trio of Lee Seung-hoon, Joo Hyong-jun and Kim Cheol-min finished the eight-lap race in 3:42.32 to beat Canada, which finished in 3:45.28. South Korea posted the fastest time in the quarterfinals with 3:40.84.
In the finals, set for Saturday, South Korea will take on the Netherlands, securing at least the silver medal. Canada's Mathieu Giroux, Lucas Makowsky and Denny Morrison tried in vain to win their second straight team pursuit gold.
In the other semifinal race on Friday, the Netherlands beat Poland.
In the team pursuit race, two nations go head to head from the opposite sides of the oval, and their times are measured when the third skater on their team crosses the finish line.
The Lee-Joo-Kim trio reached the podium in three World Cup races between November and December last year, winning one silver and two bronze medals.
In the women's team pursuit later Friday, South Korea lost to Japan in the quarterfinals.
Kim Bo-reum, Noh Seon-yeong and Yang Shin-young raced their six laps in 3:05.28, finishing 1.29 seconds behind Japan. It was a rematch of the quarterfinals at the 2010 Vancouver Winter Olympics, where Japan also prevailed en route to winning the silver medal.
South Korea fell behind by 0.83 second after the first lap and never recovered, trailing by more than three seconds with one lap remaining. Only the last-minute spurt made the final result more respectable for South Korea.