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Canada remains in first-place logjam at Ford Worlds

SWIFT CURRENT, Sask. — The Team Canada train kept rolling on Tuesday morning at the 2016 Ford World Women’s Curling Championship, presented by Meridian Manufacturing.

Chelsea Carey’s Calgary squad — third Amy Nixon, second Jocelyn Peterman, lead Laine Peters, alternate Susan O’Connor, team coach Charley Thomas and national coach Elaine Dagg-Jackson — knocked off Germany’s Daniela Driendl (3-3) 7-5 in Draw 9 play at the Credit Union iplex.

With the victory, Canada improved to 5-1 in the 12-team round-robin competition — tied for top spot with Switzerland’s Binia Feltscher and Scotland’s Eve Muirhead, with a pair of 4-1 teams, skipped by Japan’s Satsuki Fujisawa and Russia’s Anna Sidorova, close behind in what’s shaping up as a dandy stretch run in pursuit of the four available playoff berths.

And the Canadian skip is feeling the same kind of vibe she did last month on Grande Prairie, Alta., where her team captured the Scotties Tournament of Hearts title.

“I’d say we’re similar (to where we were six games into the Scotties),” said Carey. “We were still undefeated in Grande Prairie, which was nice. But I’d say the level of play is similar. We struggled to figure out the ice here more than we did in Grande Prairie, so it was a slower start here, because we were onto the ice right away during the Scotties. But I feel like we’re getting better in every game, and that’s all you can ask for.”

The Canadians did have some early struggles against the Germans, particularly in the fourth and fifth ends when Carey misses cost her own team a point, and produced points for the Germans.

But Canada would clamp down in the later ends to take control. After Germany cracked a three in the fifth, the Calgarians would answer back immediately with a sixth-end deuce to tie the game, and then stole singles in the seventh and eighth ends to swing the momentum back in the favour of the home team.

Swiss vice-skip Irene Schori shouts instructions to her teammates on Tuesday. (Photo, Curling Canada/Michael Burns)

Swiss vice-skip Irene Schori shouts instructions to her teammates on Tuesday. (Photo, Curling Canada/Michael Burns)

“We had some struggles, but the ice is nice in the morning — we just have to trust it because it’s quite different (than the evening draws); it’s a lot faster,” said Carey. “It’s nice, but it takes a while to get used to it. We missed a few opportunities in the fourth end to potentially set up a deuce, and then I missed a shot in five to give them three. So a little bit of struggles early but late in the game we settled in, we got on board with the speed differences and it was really good from there. I thought we played a good back half of the game.”

Canada is back on the ice Tuesday at 2 p.m. (all times MDT) against Italy’s Federica Apollonio (0-5) before getting the evening off.

Scotland, meanwhile, ran its win streak to five games thanks to a tidy 9-3 win over Denmark’s Lene Nielsen. Scotland opened with a three, added a fourth-end deuce and then prompted handshakes by scoring three in the ninth end, leaving the Danes at 2-4.

“That was a good game — it was our first early morning game and we knew we had to come out sharp,” said Muirhead. “Now, we’re only halfway through so we’ve got to make sure we can keep going. It’s a long week to try to stay focused. It’s possible to have slip-ups, of course, and that makes your job slightly harder, but the key is just staying focused.”

Switzerland, meanwhile, all but put a dagger in the playoff hopes of Sweden’s Margaretha Sigfridsson with a narrow 6-5 win. While the Swiss — winners of three of the past four world titles, including Feltscher’s win in 2014 at Saint John, N.B. — are in cruise control, Sweden, at 1-5, needs a miracle to get into the playoff picture.

In the other morning game, Erika Brown of the U.S. was a 10-3 victor over South Korea’s Ji Sun Kim, leaving both teams with 2-4 records.

The Ford Worlds continue on Tuesday with draws at 2 p.m. and 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.