Canada women take gold, men silver at World Seniors
The Canadian women’s team, skipped by Colleen Pinkney of Truro, Nova Scotia, claimed the gold medal at the World Seniors Curling Championships in Chelyabinsk, Russia on Saturday, defeating Switzerland (Renate Nedkoff), 8-4 in an extra end final.Meanwhile, the men’s gold medal game, featuring two undefeated teams, Canada (Bruce Delaney of Ottawa) and the United States (Paul Pustovar of Hibbing, Minnesota), also went to an extra end before Pustovar prevailed, 4-3, stealing one in the eighth end to tie, then stealing the winning point in the extra end. The women’s victory capped a perfect week for the Nova Scotians, who had finished the round robin in first place with a 7-0 mark, before defeating Sweden, 8-2 in one of the semi-finals on Friday. Switzerland had also advanced to the final by clipping the United States, 6-4 in the other semi. Pinkney, along with teammates Wendy Currie, Karen Hennigar and Susan Creelman, thus won the sixth World Seniors women’s title for Canada since the competition began in 2002 in Bismarck, North Dakota. “We felt a little nervous,” said Pinkney. “I don’t feel we curled our best game at all. I give the Swiss credit. They curled very well and put pressure on us all the time. They came out on fire and we did not and we were making a lot of half shots. I think we only felt confident when we forced them to take one in the eighth and went to an extra end.” It was the third consecutive year that Canada had claimed the women’s gold medal, following victories by British Columbia’s Pat Sanders in 2009 and Alberta’s Diane Foster in 2008. Pinkney had won the 2009 Canadian Seniors held in Summerside, Prince Edward Island in order to qualify for this year’s World Seniors. In the bronze medal game, Sweden’s Ingrid Meldahl, who won the World Seniors in 2006 and 2007, prevailed over the United States, skipped by Sharon Vukich, 6-5. In men’s, Delaney and teammates Rick Bachand, Duncan Jamieson and George Mitchell had breezed through the ‘Blue’ Group, posting a 5-0 mark, before advancing to the final after edging Australia, 3-2 in a Friday semi-final. Meanwhile, Pustovar, who lost the 2009 World Seniors final to Canada’s Eugene Hritzuk, 4-3 in Dunedin, New Zealand, had also wracked up a pristine record, 5-0 in the ‘Red’ Group, before defeating Switzerland, 8-5 in the other semi-final. This time around, though, Pustovar and his team of Brian Simonson, Tom Harms and Don Mohawk were not to be denied, claiming the gold medal, the second one for the United States, after the inaugural event in 2002 was won by Larry Johnson. “I’m elated. It’s a fantastic feeling – after all that practice and all that work that we’ve done in the last couple of years and actually all the practice in my entire life,” said Pustovar. “In the extra end, we were able to get the draw around the guards to the four-foot. And that rock stayed there the whole end and we just kept guarding it.” Delaney, who had won the 2009 Canadian Seniors, defeating New Brunswick’s Russ Howard in the final, was seeking a leading seventh title for Canada, and third in a row, after victories by Alberta’s Pat Ryan in 2008 and Saskatchewan’s Eugene Hritzuk last year. “It was a very good game,” said Delaney. “We got into trouble in the seventh, eighth and ninth (extra end) and unfortunately didn’t have any shots to bail us out. We got the two early and every time one of their players tried to throw it short, they would throw it in the rings. So we just had to hit it. Unfortunately, we weren’t able to keep the front clear in the eighth and ninth (extra) end and that’s what was our downfall.” In the bronze medal game, Australia’s Hugh Millikin was a 4-3 winner, also in an extra end, over Switzerland’s Andre Pauli.