With a 9-6 win over the USA on Friday afternoon, Calgary’s Kalynn Park and Charley Thomas are one step closer to the medals at the World Mixed Doubles Curling Championship in Sochi, Russia.
Park and Thomas, supported by coach Jim Waite, finished the round robin with an 8-1 record and went straight through to the quarter-finals by virtue of their first-place finish in Group C.
Against the USA’s Sarah Anderson and Korey Dropkin, Park and Thomas came through with some big shots when needed, making it hard for the Americans to get rocks into scoring position.
Tied 5-5 after four ends, the Canadians broke the game open with a score of three in the fifth, then held Anderson and Dropkin to a single in the sixth and never let up.
“I can definitely improve, but Charley played really well,” said Park after the game. “I just struggled with the draw weight a little bit at the end there so I need to pick that up, but other than that, everything else was great.”
Park, who throws the first and last rocks, said one of the keys to the team’s success is staying calm and taking chances when they present themselves.
“They didn’t give us much so just really capitalising when we did get those misses, that was the difference for sure,” she said.
“I think everyone has been great,” said Park about the standard of play at her first world mixed doubles event. “This Mixed Doubles is great for curling in general and it will only improve. Every game has been a battle and it’s really great to see that every team is equal out here. It’s really fun.”
In Saturday’s semifinal, Park and Thomas will face Sweden’s Camilla Johansson and Per Noreen, the 2014 silver medallists from Dumfries, Scotland, who finished the round robin with a 6-2 record in second place in Group B. Canadian curling fans will be able to watch this game on World Curling Television at 3:30 a.m. ET.
In the other semifinal, Norway’s Kristin Skaslien and Magnus Nedregotten will take on Hungary’s Dorottya Palancsa and Zsolt Kiss, the 2013 gold medallists from Fredericton, N.B.
Semifinal games get underway at 3:30 a.m. ET, with the medal games taking place at 8:30 a.m. ET.
Only one Canadian team has reached the podium at the World Mixed Doubles: Sean Grassie and Allison Nimik won bronze in 2009 at Cortina d’Ampezzo, Italy.
Semifinals (3:30 a.m. ET) and medal games will take place on Saturday at 8:30 a.m.
Selected games from the World Mixed Doubles Championship will be streamed live online. Go to the event website, wmdcc2015.curlingevents.com/, to see the games and broadcast schedule as well as live scoring and results.