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Canada will play for gold in Lillehammer

Canada’s Youth Olympians will face off against Team USA for the 2016 Youth Olympics gold medal on Wednesday morning after battling to a 7-5 win over Switzerland on Tuesday evening in Lillehammer, Norway.

Team Canada skip Mary Fay (Chester, N.S.), third Tyler Tardi, (Surrey, B.C.), second Karlee Burgess (Brookfield, N.S.), lead Sterling Middleton (Fort St. John, B.C.), with coach Helen Radford, went undefeated throughout the round robin and won their quarterfinal, 10-2, over Turkey on Tuesday morning.

Team Canada’s Sterling Middleton, Karlee Burgess, Tyler Tardi and Mary Fay celebrate their semifinal win over Switzerland at the 2016 Youth Olympic Games in Lillehammer, Norway (WCF/Richard Gray photo)

Team Canada’s Sterling Middleton, Karlee Burgess, Tyler Tardi and Mary Fay celebrate their semifinal win over Switzerland at the 2016 Youth Olympic Games in Lillehammer, Norway (WCF/Richard Gray photo)

“I don’t think we felt a lot of pressure going into it,” said Fay about winning the first of two playoff games at the event. “It is sudden death, but at the same time we were just focused on one shot at a time and that’s no different from any other game. We’ve practiced, and we’ve had experience in other tournaments. We know what it feels like and we know the other team’s going to bring their A game, and today my teammates made some great shots so that we were able to set it up and we got the win, which is awesome.”

In a tense semifinal against Switzerland, Canada surged ahead 5-1 in the fourth when Swiss skip Selina Witschonke’s final draw came up short.

With the score 5-3 in the sixth, Switzerland applied pressure, but Fay was able to remove one of two Swiss counters with her first rock, thanks to some tremendous sweeping from Middleton, and played a cautious hit for one with her last.

Leading 6-5 heading into the final end, Canada relied on some strong hitting by Burgess and Tardi to keep the house clean. With her last shot, Fay made a tick to remove the only Swiss rock and secure Team Canada’s place in the final.

“My teammates made some great shots, and my job was easy enough,” said Fay afterwards. “The Swiss team fought back really hard. We got an early lead, but we knew they were going to fight back, and it came down to the last rock, we had to make our shot, but I was completely confident that my teammates were going to sweep the rock, so my job was easy.”

I’m sure it will be a tough final, I expect that both teams will come out and wanna leave everything on the ice, and everyone comes out playing really well. We are just gonna try and go out there and enjoy every end. I mean it will be our last eight ends at the Youth Olympics, so we don’t wanna let any of that go, we wanna hold on to every moment and really be there and enjoy it.”

The quarter-final on Tuesday morning was more straight-forward. Canada forced Turkey to take a single in the first end, then scored five in the second and stole three ends on the way to a 10-2 win.

Fay also had praise for the less-experienced young team from Turkey, led by skip Oguzhan Karakurt.

“They play with so much spirit and you can tell they’re in every shot,” she said. “They’re sweeping their heart out. They’re going to be a great team. They made some great shots, and they’re new to this event, so I think they’ve done fantastic.”

“I’m sure it will be a tough final,” Fay said about tomorrow’s gold-medal game against the USA. “I expect that both teams will come out and want to leave everything on the ice, and everyone comes out playing really well. We are just going to try and go out there and enjoy every end. I mean it will be our last eight ends at the Youth Olympics, so we don’t want to let any of that go. We want to hold on to every moment and really be there and enjoy it.”

Skip Mary Fay, second Sterling Middleton and vice Tyler Tardi guide a rock into the rings during semifinal action at the 2016 Youth Olympic Games in Lillehammer, Norway (WCF/Richard Gray photo)

Skip Mary Fay, second Sterling Middleton and vice Tyler Tardi guide a rock into the rings during semifinal action at the 2016 Youth Olympic Games in Lillehammer, Norway (WCF/Richard Gray photo)

The gold- and bronze-medal games take place on Wednesday, Feb. 17, at 3 a.m. EST.

Live scoring, pictures, team lineups and the event schedule are available at www.worldcurling.org/yog2016

Follow live shot-by-shot action on Curling Geek.

Daily highlight packages will be available online at http://www.cbc.ca/sports/olympics/video.

Other video content from Lillehammer will be available at the Games’ Youtube channel, www.youtube.com/user/lillehammer2016, as well as at the Youth Olympics’ Youtube channel, www.youtube.com/user/YouthOlympics.

For more information about the Youth Olympics, click here.