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Canada ekes out extra-end victory to open Ford Worlds

SWIFT CURRENT, Sask. — It wasn’t the start Chelsea Carey wanted, but the ending was just fine on Saturday afternoon for the skip of Team Canada at the Ford World Women’s Curling Championship, presented by Meridian Manufacturing.

The Canadians spotted Denmark four points before scratching and clawing their way to an 8-7 victory. It took a three-ender on the ninth and a quiet hit and stick on an extra end for the win.

“We gave them a soft three on the first end,” a relieved Carey said after the game. “We got a little fooled by some of the spots on the ice. We stayed patient and kept making shots and luckily enough we were able to pull it off in the end.”

Without the hammer on the first end, Carey got into it with the Danes. Danish skip Lene Nielsen controlled the house the whole way and had an open draw for three when Carey missed a hit on a rock three-quarters exposed.

Canada had a good second end going before Nielsen made a beautiful drew to the top of the button with her final rock. Carey was unable to hit the little piece of button that was left, and Denmark went up 4-0.

“I was thinking there is a lot of game left and because there were some tricky spots both teams are going to miss shots. It was stay patient, stay patient. We said before the game we could get up four or we could get down four. No matter what approach it the same way and try to make shots, learn the ice and go from there.”

Carey said the game was a learning experience.

“We learned a lot. I would approach the first two ends differently with what we now know about the ice that we really didn’t know coming in. All you want to do the first few games is learn a lot.”

Carey, third Amy Nixon, second Jocelyn Peterman, lead Laine Peters, alternate Susan O’Connor, team coach Charley Thomas (who missed the first game because he was playing in the Grand Slam Elite 10 in Victoria) and national coach Elaine Dagg-Jackson didn’t have to learn the hard way.

Canada’s comeback started in the third end when they scored a pair.

After a blank fourth, the teams took off the gloves again in the fifth end. Nielsen was facing four when she went to throw her final rock, including two biting the four-foot. Her final rock over-curled, giving Canada a steal of one to make the score 4-3.

Carey had the Danes on the run again in the sixth until a jam on her first rock put Nielsen in a position to count two. The Danish skip — backed by third Stephanie Risdal, second Isabella Clemmensen, lead Charlotte Clemmensen, alternate Madeleine Dupont and coach Ulrik Schmidt — rolled out to score just one point and take a 5-3 lead. It would prove to be a costly lost point.

Japanese fans were in a mood to celebrate after their team's victory on Saturday afternoon. (Photo, Curling Canada/Michael Burns)

Japanese fans were in a mood to celebrate after their team’s victory on Saturday afternoon. (Photo, Curling Canada/Michael Burns)

After Carey scored one on the seventh, and had the Danes in all kinds of trouble in the eighth. Canada was counting four, including three in the four-foot when Nielsen went to throw her last rock. She played a soft-weight hit and roll to count a single.

The ninth end looked good for Denmark until Risdal jammed a runback, setting Canada up for a three-ender and its first lead of the game — 7-6.

The Canadians played a flawless 10th end, holding Denmark to one to set the stage for an extra end.

Carey hit and stuck on her final shot of the extra end for the win, and one of many outbursts from the supportive Swift Current crowd.

“We did a really good job of the girls for staying calm and hanging in there and battling,” the Canadian skip said.

She said the crowd was a factor.

“That was pretty cool when everybody freaked out when we made it. It’s neat. I don’t think that was ever a negative in that whole game. It was awesome to have the crowd on our side. They were yelling at us to steal when we were two down and stuff. It was a lot of fun. It was cool.”

Next up for Canada are games Sunday against Switzerland (9 a.m.; all times MDT) and the United States (7 p.m.).

In other games, 2014 world champ Binia Feltscher of Switzerland defeated Erika Brown of the United States 5-4 in a wonderfully played game, Japan’s Satsuki Fujisawa downed Oona Kauste of Finland 7-5 and Russia’s Anna Sidorova defeated Federica Apollonio of Italy 8-2.

Scotland’s Eve Muirhead, South Korea’s Un Chi Gim, Sweden’s Margaretha Sigfridsson and Germany’s Daniela Driendl all had first-round byes.

The 2016 Ford Worlds continue on Saturday with a draw at 7 p.m.

For ticket and other event information, visit http://www.curling.ca/2016worldwomen/tickets/

For the complete results, standings, the schedule and much more, visit to http://www.curling.ca/2016worldwomen/

This story will be posted in French as soon as possible at http://www.curling.ca/2016worldwomen/?lang=fr

TSN (RDS2 in French), the exclusive television network for Curling Canada’s Season of Champions, will provide complete coverage of the 2016 Ford Worlds