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Canada shakes off rock-handle issues to remain unbeaten at Ford Worlds

SWIFT CURRENT, Sask. — Canada defeated the United States 10-2 Sunday night at the Ford World Women’s Curling championship, presented by Meridian Manufacturing, but there was much more to it than the lopsided score.

There were a couple of outstanding shots by Canadian skip Chelsea Carey, but it was a rock controversy that dominated post-game discussion. On both the third and fourth ends, one of Canadian vice-skip Amy Nixon’s rocks red-lighted. The first time, it was kicked to the corner, despite the fact there appeared to be no hogline infraction. Video replay to overturn an infraction isn’t an option because not all four sheets in play would have it as an option.

On the next end, with an official monitoring the hogline, the light on Nixon’s rock turned red again. After much discussion, Nixon was allowed to replay the shot.

“It was a difficult situation,” Nixon said. “I am just trying to get over it, actually.”

A number of changes had already been made to the rock. In the pre-game it was flashing red, then it didn’t flash at all and then it went red again at a most critical time, she told reporters.

“I am not one to go over (the hogline), but since we don’t have a JumboTron or screen here, it is difficult to know,” Nixon said. “The biggest thing about this is that I wish somebody would have been able to tell me on the replay if I was over or not. Either you are over and you accept it or you’re not and you really start to ride the officials about having to do something about it. That’s the biggest problem with that situation. To be in a world championship and be in that situation is needless to say not my favourite thing I have ever experienced.”

Carey, whose team is rounded out by second Jocelyn Peterman, lead Laine Peters, alternate Susan O’Connor, team coach Charley Thomas and national coach Elaine Dagg-Jackson, said having the rock pulled could have been devastating for her team.

“Through no fault of our own, we were put behind the 8-ball,” the Canadian skip said. “Thankfully it wasn’t a turning point in the game, but it easily could have been. It could have had huge ramifications on the outcome and it was entirely not our fault.

“Technology is great, but was far as I am concerned, give everybody handles without sensors in them. And if you have a problem with the other team, call an official out or something.”

On the heels of the rock being pulled from the game, Carey made a brilliant up-weight raise double on the third end to count one when a steal appeared to be a given.

“To be fair, you are just trying to run it back to not give them three,” Carey said. “That one, I thought kind of evened out. We were close. We were never going to give up more than one on that where it hit, but certainly lucky to make it for one. But if her rock doesn’t get pulled, I probably have a pretty makeable shot for one.”

South Korea skip Ji Sun Kim instructs her teammates during Sunday night's win over Sweden. (Photo, Curling Canada/Michael Burns)

South Korea skip Ji Sun Kim instructs her teammates during Sunday night’s win over Sweden. (Photo, Curling Canada/Michael Burns)

Scoreboard-wise, the first end decided the game.

With her last rock, Carey made an outstanding shot to get four, bringing fans at the Credit Union iplex out of their seats. The Canadian skip hit a corner of one of her rocks, pushing it onto a buried America counter. When the granite quit rolling, four yellow rocks formed a nice little pattern in the four-foot.

With the victory, Canada improved to 3-0 — tied for top spot with Japan’s Satsuki Fujisawa, who had a bye Sunday night.

The loss was the third straight for the Americans.

Also Sunday evening, Germany’s Daniela Driendl (2-1) dropped from the ranks of the unbeaten, losing 10-3 to Scotland’s Eve Muirhead (2-1). In the other games Sunday evening, Switzerland’s Binia Feltscher (2-1) defeated Denmark’s Lene Nielsen (1-2) 7-6, and South Korea’s Ji Sun Kim (1-2) downed Sweden’s Margaretha Sigfridsson (1-2) 8-6.

Russia’s Anna Sidorova (2-1), Finland’s Oona Kauste (1-2) and Italy’s Federica Apollonio (0-3) also had the evening byes.

Canada plays two games Monday — at 9 a.m. (all times MDT) against Russia and at 7 p.m. against Sweden.

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.