In a thrilling Page 3-4 game Saturday morning at the Capital One World Women’s Curling Championship in Esbjerg, Canada’s Amber Holland stole three in an extra end against Denmark’s Lene Nielsen to win 10-7 and advance to this afternoon’s semi-final against China (live on TSN at 10:00 am ET).
It was a battle from the get-go, as Canada held a 4-3 lead after five ends, helped by a steal in the fifth.
Denmark went in front with a deuce in the sixth, and after the seventh was blanked, the teams traded deuces in the eighth and ninth ends, with both skips hitting and staying for pairs.
Then, in a dramatic 10th end, with Denmark up 7-6, Nielsen played a long guard with her last stone, trying to protect a Danish counter. Holland then executed a runback, which left both a Canadian and Danish stone biting the eight-foot and requiring a measure.
The measure went Canada’s way, barely, to force an extra end. In the 11th, it came down to a final stone for Nielsen, as she was left with a last gasp, angle raise in order to chip out a Canada counter in the four-foot. She missed the difficult shot and Canada stole three as a result.
“That was a great game. Lots of great shot-making on both sides and it almost had the feel like it was a gold medal game,” said Holland. “We definitely had to be patient. We made a lot of great shots and we put some pressure on, and it went back and forth a little bit. You just know in those games you’ve got to gut it out and stay with it.
“It got a little hairy in the 10th end. We didn’t play as well as we could have, and that made my shot for one really tough. I was just happy we got the measure to go to the 11th. We’re still on that gold medal path. That was a big confidence-boost for us going into this afternoon’s game.”
Although Canada held a wide margin in team shooting percentage, 83%-72%, with Holland also outpointing Nielsen, 84%-76%, it still boiled down to Canada needing a steal to win…and they did.
Now, the Holland foursome, representing the Kronau Curling Club in Saskatchewan, will face China’s Bingyu Wang, the 2009 world champion, in the upcoming semi-final. The winner advances to the gold medal game on Sunday to meet Sweden’s Anette Norberg, while the loser goes to the bronze medal game against Denmark Sunday morning. Canada beat China in its opening game a week ago, 8-6.
Added Nielsen, about her last chance stone in the extra, “I was trying to hit a little bit more on the left side of the stone and then it would have been more on the nose of the yellow one, it just went right under and hit a little bit too thick…bad luck.
“It’s not over. I’m proud to be here, I think we played well. But we had the shot for the game and missed it. Now we have to play for the bronze medal. I’m glad it’s tomorrow, though, so we have a little more time to get it all together again. When the disappointment is over, I’ll still be proud.”