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Sweden wins tiebreaker; faces Scotland in Page 3-4 on Saturday

Sweden’s 22-year-old Cecilia Ostlund loves the aggressive curling game. In her short career, she has a history of employing high-risk strategy.

Take the first end of Friday’s Ford World women’s curling championship tiebreaker against Erika Brown’s Americans.

Ostlund managed to get a pair of counters jammed in the four-foot with 15 rocks in play. The Swedish pair was so locked in, Ostlund merely tossed her last rock away, testing an outside draw away from the crockery.

There were rocks in play, in fact, in most ends until Sweden adopted a defensive mode after smacking the Yanks with a four-ender in the sixth.

“I like that kind of game,” said skip Ostlund, moments after clinching a wild 11-8 win over the U.S. to move into Saturday’s 12-noon Page Three-Four playoff against Scotland’s Eve Muirhead.   “I like a lot of rocks in play. It’s a fun game. We know we can handle the risks involved now. I thought we played a really good game today. We gave it our all.”

The upcoming tussle will be a rematch of the world junior final at Ostersund in 2008. On the subject of wild, aggressive play, it backfired on Ostlund at that time when Muirhead stole a six-ender en route to a 12-3 waxing.

The other side of that coin? Ostlund clobbered Muirhead 10-2 in the previous Page One-Two playoff game.

“She is aggressive, no question,” said Muirhead, prior to a late Friday practice session. “She’s a great player and to say that she’s the next Anette (Norberg), I don’t think they’ve got that wrong. They fight all the way and I’m sure this is going to be a good game.”

Muirhead, who won the round-robin meeting of the two teams earlier in the week by a 7-3 score, agreed that experience might tell the tale.

“We have a lot of it on our team — Kelly (Wood) and Lorna (Vevers) who have been here about seven times and Anne Laird, who won this in 2002. That should give us an advantage. “We just have to get out and take it as it comes and see what happens.”

Ostlund tends to be a little more direct.

“It’s going to be a really tough game but I think if we play like we did today and maybe step it up just a bit we will take this next game.”

The Yanks answered Sweden’s opening deuce immediately but then failed to duck a three in the third end. It was square after five when Ostlund flashed her last, while looking at two.  “That one seemed to pick right out of my hand,” she said.

Then came the crushing four and the Swedes refused to relinquish control from there.

“She made a lot of doubles,” said Brown. “Three, maybe four. But I guess I left them for her. She made some great shots.”

Ostlund’s key double in the sixth, an angle-raise effort, gave her the four-ender.  “We got lucky in the fifth when she missed and we thought it would give us some new life,” said Brown. “But, unfortunately, that lasted for about 15 rocks. We made a lot of good shots but just not enough. Cissi came out real tough.”

Brown said she looks forward to a break from the game but will return to skip a team next year.  “Right now, 24 games in three weeks is a lot for my legs to handle,” she said.

Canada’s Jennifer Jones and Germany’s Andrea Schoepp will collide Friday night at 8 p.m. in the Page One-Two playoff with the winner moving to the championship final on Sunday at 3 p.m. and the loser dropping to the semi-final Saturday night against the winner of the Scotland-Sweden contest.

Germany defeated Canada 8-7 in an extra end round-robin collision on Wednesday afternoon.