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Canada to go for gold at Capital One World Women’s

Canada’s Amber Holland and her Kronau Curling Club team of Kim Schneider, Tammy Schneider and Heather Kalenchuk will go for the gold Sunday in Esbjerg, Denmark after beating China, 8-5 in the semi-final of the Capital One World Women’s Saturday afternoon at the Granly Hockey Arena.

Photo: World Curling Federation

Actually, it was more like stealing their way to the final, as they did earlier in the day when defeating Denmark, 10-7 in the Page 3-4 game, with a theft of three in an extra end.

In the semi-final, after China’s Bingyu Wang, the 2009 world champion, had opened with a deuce, Holland blanked the second, then went on a bit of a run…taking one in the third, then stealing crucial points in next two ends, a single in the fourth and a deuce in the fifth, for a 4-2 lead at the break.

Canada led 6-3 after seven ends, before Wang blanked the eighth and counted two in the ninth to cut the margin to 6-5.

But in the 10th, with China needing to steal just to force an extra, Holland successfully executed a runback with her last stone, taking out the China counter and scoring a not-needed deuce to clinch the game.

Holland will now face Sweden’s Anette Norberg in the final (live on TSN at 9:00 am ET Sunday). Canada has thus clawed its way to the gold medal game, first beating Switzerland Friday in a tiebreaker for fourth, before its two impressive tallies today.

Afterwards, a delighted Holland said, “It feels good that we put together two good games today, two wins, and we’re looking forward to playing tomorrow. I’ve said all week we never go the easy way. We’re much more comfortable with the ice than we were at the beginning of the round robin and we’ve definitely improved the performance.

“I think we’ll need to do the same as we did today (about her upcoming battle with Norberg). Making sure that the front end is putting the pressure on and that I finish off at the end.”

Only Switzerland’s Gaby Casanova has come from a tiebreaker to claim gold at the world’s women’s and that happened way back at the inaugural championship in 1979.

Holland will be seeking her first world title (she won a silver medal at the 1993 world juniors) and a leading 16th world women’s crown for Canada on Sunday, the last by Jennifer Jones in 2008 in Vernon, British Columbia at the Ford World Women’s.

Norberg, who finished in first place with a 9-2 record, advanced to the final by beating China in the Page 1-2 game Friday evening. She’ll be seeking her third world crown, after victories in 2005 and 2006, to go with her Olympic gold medals in 2006 and 2010.

Canada lost to Sweden, 5-4 in a tight contest mid-week in the round robin, with the game turning on a steal by Norberg in the seventh end.

China now plays for a bronze medal tomorrow morning against Denmark.

“It was a tough loss for us,” said Wang. “We were not so great in the middle and gave them a chance to steal. In the seventh and the eighth, we lost our patience a little and played too quickly. They played well. They didn’t give us many chances to get back into the game.”