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Team Canada opens Wheelchair Worlds on losing note

Team Canada opened the 2015 World Wheelchair Curling Championship with a loss against China on Saturday at the Kisakallio Sports Institute in Lohja, Finland.

Team Canada's Sonja Gaudet, left, and Dennis Thiessen discuss strategy during Saturday's game. (Photo, World Curling Federation)

Team Canada’s Sonja Gaudet, left, and Dennis Thiessen discuss strategy during Saturday’s game. (Photo, World Curling Federation)

The Canadian team – Skip Mark Ideson of London, Ont. (throwing lead rocks), vice-skip Ina Forrest (Armstrong, B.C.), third Dennis Thiessen (Sanford, Man.), second Sonja Gaudet (Vernon, B.C.), alternate Marie Wright (Moose Jaw, Sask.), and coach Joe Rea (Prince George, B.C.) – gave up three steals of two points en route to an 8-3 loss against the HaiTao Wang-skipped Chinese team.

Forrest’s last rock takeout in the first end was wide, resulting in an early 2-0 lead that China did not relent. Canada scored a single in the second end and China replied with a single of its own in the third. Canada missed a hit in the fourth end that resulted in another steal of two and a 5-1 China lead at the fourth end break. Canada responded with a draw for two in the fifth end, but a light draw in the seventh brought forth a Chinese steal of two and was enough for the Canadians to extend handshakes and settle for the loss.

Team Canada’s lineup has been slightly altered for the championship with longtime national skip Jim Armstrong of Cambridge, Ont. missing the event due to health reasons. Ideson, who captured gold medals as an alternate at the Sochi 2014 Paralympic Winter Games and 2013 World Wheelchair Championship, was not deterred after the setback.

“You know what? I thought we gave it a good effort. There was a few times we were on the wrong side of the dime, but otherwise I thought we threw pretty well,” Ideson said. “We’re a new team and that was our first game together on the world stage with me calling the game. We’re working out some kinks but I think overall we’re fairly happy with the way we threw it.”

There was only one draw on Saturday as the 10-team field settled into the championship that runs through to Friday. Prior to the game Canada spent time in team meetings, practising, and taking part in the opening ceremony.

Canada will play two games on Saturday. First, the Canadians will take on Germany’s Jens Jaeger at 9:30 a.m. Lohja time (2:30 a.m. EST). Then Canada will play host nation Finland, skipped by Markku Karjalainen, at 3:30 p.m. Lohja time (8:30 a.m. EST).

Ideson looks forward to getting back on the ice and earning Canada’s first win at the event.

“I think we just need to do more of the same. Just stick to our game plan and as the week goes on we’ll get better and better and we’ll get used to the ice and get used to each other. We know we weren’t going to come here and win every game; it’s just one rock at a time for us,” Ideson said.

Live scoring and standings from the 2015 World World Wheelchair Curling Championship can be found at: http://wwhcc2015.curlingevents.com/.