Canada takes first; will meet Germany in Page 1-2 Friday night
Jennifer Jones says experience isn’t necessary in the Ford World women’s curling championship, presented by Monsanto. But, she adds, it doesn’t hurt, either. Canada’s Jones and her Winnipeg team of Cathy Overton-Clapham, Jill Officer and Dawn Askin oozed poise and experience on Thursday night at the iplex as they breezed past Scotland 8-5 during the final round-robin draw to nail top spot on the leaderboard with a 10-and-1 record. The win moves the Canada into the Page One-Two playoff Friday night at 8 p.m. against Germany, the only team to defeat the Canucks during preliminary play. Germany clobbered Binia Feltscher of Switzerland 8-2 Thursday night. “They beat us last time (8-7 in an extra end) so maybe it will be our turn this time,” suggested Jones. “We’re pretty excited. It was a big win for us and I thought we played pretty well. And we have the hammer in the next game. “The biggest thing for us this week is that all of us have had consistent draw weight. The ice has been so readable. We all just felt comfortable with the ice and the weight.” For Scotland, skipped by 19-year-old Eve Muirhead, the loss was the second of the day and stripped the team of a berth in the two-life playoff. Scotland will sit out Friday and await the survivor of a tiebreaker at 1:30 p.m. involving Sweden’s Cecilia Ostlund and Erika Brown’s troops from the U.S.A. “It’s nice to keep the rhythm but I don’t mind having a day off,” said Muirhead. “It’s been tough the last week, non-stop game after game, so I don’t think a rest will do us any harm.” She termed the match with Canada “a game of two halves. We didn’t have it in the second half. It’s disappointing. We win that and we’re in the One-Two playoff with hammer. Now we’re back in a sudden-death game and we still have three games to play if we want to win this and we’re two matches away from the final we’ve always hoped to get to.” Brown survived while sitting idle Thursday night after eliminating defending champion China 9-5 in the afternoon. A win by Sweden over China on Thursday night would have sidelined the Yanks and the need for a tiebreaker. But Ostlund’s young team bowed 9-4 to China, dropping the Swedish record to 7-and-4, identical to that of the U.S. squad. “It’s a good feeling to be there,” said Schoepp of achieving two playoff lives. The German skip never has played in the One-Two playoff. In fact, Schoepp hasn’t been in the playoffs since 2006 when she lost to Kelly Scott of Canada in the Page Three-Four tussle. “We haven’t changed anything,” she said, when prodded to reveal new-found secrets of success. “The only thing for me is I’ve really been motivated to come here. Much moreso than to the Olympics. Why? For me, Olympics are a little bit different. Here you are playing just for you. Everything is all about you and you can win or lose on your terms. In the Olympics, in curling, you are kind of in the background. “It’s in my head. I know, I’m a bit crazy and different maybe, but I love to play world championships and especially in Canada and in smaller towns like this one. I knew what would happen here and it is just as I expected it. So I’m feeling really well and I’m enjoying it. It’s a feeling and you have to have it. That’s something you can feel when you go on the ice.” Schoepp said winning the European championship last December has provided a big confidence booster to her team of Melanie Robillard, Monika Wagner, Corinna Scholz and Stella Heiss. “You feel much safer and you know that you have shown that you are still alive among the top teams,” Schoepp said. “It makes you feel more confident. There is no set strategy, I will play the way I feel. We knew that we could beat them before. But it’s what I said in the beginning. It’s a 50-50 chance. You have to play well and have a little bit of luck, too.” In one other game on the last draw, Denmark improved its record to 6-and-5 with a 9-7 win over Norway’s Linn Githmark (3-8). China also finished 6-5 while Russia was 5-6, Switzerland 3-8, Japan 2-9 and rookie Latvia 1-10.