Canada’s Einarson earns third straight victory by beating Sweden 10-8 at World Women’s Curling Championship

PRINCE GEORGE, B.C. — Canada‘s Kerri Einarson hit a major milestone in her bid for the world women’s curling championship with a 10-8 win over Sweden on Wednesday.

PRINCE GEORGE, B.C. — Canada’s Kerri Einarson hit a major milestone in her bid for the world women’s curling championship with a 10-8 win over Sweden on Wednesday.

Anna Hasselborg’s Swedish quartet won Olympic gold in 2018, bronze last month in Beijing and were twice world runners-up.

So, the host nation’s win over a team ranked third in the world was a massive help in Einarson’s quest for a playoff spot.

“They’re some of the best in the world so it was a huge win for us and a huge boost of confidence going forward,” Einarson said.

Canada’s record was 6-2 at the end of the day with a victory canceled out by Scotland. After two defeats, the Scots withdrew on Sunday as four players tested positive for COVID-19.

The top six teams at the end of the preliminary round on Friday will advance to the playoffs.

The top two earn byes to Saturday’s semi-finals, with the third through sixth playing that day to join them. The medal games are Sunday.

Defending champions Switzerland topped the standings 8-0 with a draw remaining on Wednesday.

South Korea were 6-1 and the Swedes 6-2 with the two countries meeting on the evening.

Denmark, USA and Japan were tied at 5-3 with Germany and Norway at 4-4.

The Czech Republic were 1-6, Italy 1-7 and Turkey winless in seven games.

Canada led 5-0 after three ends and 8-2 after five against the Swedes, but Hasselborg didn’t go easy and fought their way through to the 10th end.

With the hammer heading home, Einarson didn’t need to deliver his last rock when Hasselborg drew.

“We definitely had to play well to beat them,” said Canadian first Briane Meilleur. “They played really well in the last half, so I’m glad we held on.

“It was nice to have a bit of a lead to start just to get a bit of a buffer.”

Each team throws two pre-game ties on the button, which are measured not only to determine which team gets the hammer on the first end.

Instead of tiebreaker games, accumulated metrics also determine seeds if teams are tied on Friday.

A measurement error on Hasselborg’s pre-match draw initially indicated that she was closer to the center pinhole of the button than Einarson.

The Swedish skip knew she wasn’t and didn’t dispute Einarson winning the hammer.

But Hasselborg was unhappy with a new measurement made using the officials’ charts and video to determine where its stone ended up in the rings, and demanded another one after the game.

“They measured it wrong from the start. We didn’t have the 14.4 centimeters that were on the scoreboard, but they threw (the stone) and they had to re-measure where they thought it was” , she explained. “We were not happy with this placement.

“Since LSD (last stone draw) is so important here, we don’t want to lose any inches that weren’t right.”

Even though Canada didn’t face Scotland later, they still had to show up and start their pre-match draws before a 30-minute practice.

“The draw on the button is very important in this championship,” said Canadian coach Reid Carruthers.

Hammer in the first end was instrumental in Canada’s victory. Einarson scored three playing an artistic split.

The split is a finesse shot of tapping your own stone into the rings while rolling your own shooter to score as well.

“You just have to drop your weight a bit and do that split, they’re big players,” said the Canadian captain. “It sure set the tone for the game.”

Einarson, third Val Sweeting, second Shannon Birchard and Meilleur took advantage of Sweden’s early misses by stealing singles in the second and third ends and another three in the fifth.

“I didn’t feel comfortable yet, until the end of the game,” Einarson said.

Manitoba’s Gimli Curling Club, however, gained momentum with a third straight victory. Sweeting posted over 90% shooting accuracy in a third straight game.

Canada’s game was on an outside sheet at the CN Centre. The majority of the 1,500 spectators sat above knowing how important the match was to the fortunes of the home side.

“It’s great to have an electric crowd like that,” Meilleur said. “So it was really fun to play there with all that cheering and I hope they keep it up.”

This report from The Canadian Press was first published on March 23, 2022.

Donna Spencer, The Canadian Press

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