Team Canada curlers came out strong on the final day of round-robin play at the First Winter Youth Olympic Games in Innsbruck, Austria, posting two wins and earning a spot in the quarterfinals.
Starting the day tied for second place with Russia, Canada faced first-place Japan in the morning draw.
“Canada came ready to play this morning and started the game scoring a well earned three in the first end,” reports Canadian coach Helen Radford.
After a strong second end – holding Japan to a single – the Canadians slipped into defensive mode and gave up a steal of one in the fourth. The fifth end was rally time for skip Thomas Scoffin, vice Corryn Brown, second Derek Oryniak and lead Emily Gray.
“We regrouped and made some great draws,” says Radford about the four-point score in the fifth, where all of Canada’s counters lay in the four-foot.
“The Japanese skip made a great angle run back for two points in the sixth end to close the gap, but Team Canada stayed strong and put the game away by scoring two points in the seventh end,” reports Radford. “All four players threw very well and have continued to show their strength in brushing and judging.”
The afternoon game, against Germany, was a rescheduled match from Saturday (when an overnight power outage melted the ice and caused all Draw One games to be postponed). Now sitting in a tie for second place, Team Canada faced a German squad that clearly wanted to improve its last-place standing.
Germany took its deuce with hammer in the first end, then stole a point in the second before Canada rallied to score two in the third and steal three more points in four and six.
“In the sixth end, Canada played offensively and had great rock position,” reports Radford. “We stole two points off a measurement. In the eighth end, Emily made a great tick shot and Derek made a triple takeout to keep the front clear. Thomas executed a hit and roll to secure our point and take a 6-4 win.”
Team Canada (5-2) finishes the round-robin in second place, behind Sweden (6-1) and ahead of Japan (4-3) in the Red Pool. Over in the Blue Pool, USA (7-0) finishes undefeated at the top of the standings, followed by Switzerland (6-1) and Czech Republic (4-3).
Wednesday at the Innsbruck Exhibition Centre Curling Hall is all about playoffs. The Red and Blue Pool qualifiers meet in the morning’s quarterfinals, which will see Team Canada facing Czech Republic in the first game, while Italy faces USA. The winners of that game will go to the afternoon semi-finals. On Wednesday evening, the four final teams will play to determine who wins curling Gold, Silver and Bronze in the First Winter Youth Olympic Games.