Still in the hunt!
Team Canada wins a pair of crucial games at World Wheelchair Championship
There are phrases in sport that are overused to the point that they barely mean anything. “Do or die.” “Backs against the wall.” “Must win.”
For Team Canada at the 2021 Kuntai World Wheelchair Curling Championship, Wednesday’s two games, against South Korea and Slovakia, were as close to “must win” status as one could ask for. Following three consecutive losses, Canada faced off against two opponents who were also struggling in the standings. Any more losses would seriously jeopardize its playoff chances.
The Canadians had to take advantage, and they did, racking up two big wins to stay alive for a playoff berth at the Ice Cube Arena in Beijing.
“It was very much needed,” said Canadian skip Mark Ideson. “If we’re going to make the playoffs, we needed to win these games.”
The Canadians, skipped by Ideson, with Ina Forrest, Dennis Thiessen, Jon Thurston, alternate Collinda Joseph, and coach Mick Lizmore, rebounded from the three-game skid with two convincing wins; beating South Korea 8-2 and Slovakia 8-3.
“Coming off lots of time off, we’re slowly improving and we’re trying to take advantage of the key moments in the games,” said Idesdon. “Some we’ve let slip away already. So we’re just gonna keep working on that and keep working towards playing on the weekend.”
Canada opened its first game of the day with hammer, scoring one in the first end against the South Koreans. After a steal of one in the second, Canada gave up two in the third to even the score. After that, it was all Canada, taking two, stealing one, and stealing three more before its opponent conceded in the seventh end.
The Canadians took that momentum into the second game of the day against Slovakia. Picking up where they left off, they blanked the first, but stole the next four ends, scoring a total of eight points before Slovakia got on the board with two in the sixth. Canada gave up a steal of one in the seventh. At that point the result was essentially decided, with Canada up five with the hammer.
No stones were thrown in the eighth end.
Canada now finds itself with a 5-4 record, tied with Norway for the sixth and final playoff position. Its last two games on Thursday are against Latvia and Italy, who are both in the bottom half of the standings. Two more wins would go a long way to securing a playoff spot.
Meanwhile, there is a three-way tie at the top of the table, as RCF, China, and Sweden all have a 7-2 record. Scotland and the United States are tied for fourth at 6-3.
This story will be available in French as soon as possible at https://www.curling.ca/?lang=fr.
For more information about the 2021 World Wheelchair Curling Championship, including scores, schedules and team lineups, go to worldcurling.org/events/wwhcc2021/