CURLING: Sochi 2014 Paralympic Winter Games Wheelchair Curling: Day 3 Roundup
For immediate release: 10 March 2014
Sochi, Russia – Despite losing their unbeaten record this afternoon, Canada remain at the top of the standings alongside hosts Russia at the half-way point in the round-robin following the third day of play at the 2014 Paralympic Winter Games wheelchair curling competition.
Taking place in the Ice Cube Curling Centre in Sochi, Russia, the morning session of play saw defending Paralympic champions Canada come up against North American neighbours USA.
Canada skip Jim Armstrong made a crucial breakthrough in the third end with his first stone as he made a draw around a guard. USA skip Patrick McDonald responded by attempting a difficult raise which didn’t pay off.
This left Canadian skip Jim Armstrong with a draw to score two points and take a 3-1 lead after three ends.
In the second half of the game Canada took control, taking two points after the break, in the fifth end, before stealing two single points in the sixth and seventh ends.
With the score at 7-2 the USA conceded the game to give Canada their fourth win of the competition.
Afterwards, Canada third Ina Forrest said: “I think as a team we played pretty well. The ice suited us and we could hit again, so that was kind of nice. When it gets a little heavier you have to have a lot more strength to make hits so this made it a little bit easier."
Hosts Russia kept up the pressure on Canada as they defeated Korea. The game was still tight going into the later stages, with Korea leading 5-4 going into the eighth and final end.
With the last stone advantage however, Russian skip Andrey Smirnov was able to hit the only Korean stone in the house to score three points and win the game 7-5.
Finland went into their game against Norway still looking for their first win. The game proved tight throughout, with the scores tied 3-3 at the fourth end break.
The Finns kept battling throughout the game and it almost paid off as Norway gave up a steal of one point to Finland in the eighth end to tie the score at 6-6 after skip Rune Lorentsen was heavy with his final shot.
The Norwegian skip made amends in the extra end however as he made a double take-out to score two points that sealed their 8-6 victory.
After coming of the ice, Norway skip Rune Lorentsen said: “I think we made it a little more exciting than it needed to be. I was a little bit nervous at the end there when we added an extra end on for ourselves to play. In the eighth end we just had to clear the sheet (to win the game) and we could not do that. I missed my last shot by two or three centimetres, so that is what happened. That's the way it goes."
The fourth game of the morning session was between last year’s World Wheelchair Curling Championship silver medallists, Sweden, and bronze medallists China.
In this game, China raced into the lead, taking four points from the first two ends. Although Sweden scored one point of their own in the third end, China took a substantial step towards their victory in the fourth end.
China skip Haitao Wang made a precise take-out around a guard to score three points which left the score at 7-1 at the fourth end break.
China picked up a steal of one point in the sixth end before Sweden gained three points from the next two ends before they decided to concede defeat, after seven ends of play, with the score 8-4 to China.
Afterwards, China skip Haitao Wang said: “We have a very good mood and we won with confidence. Today compared to the other day, we played much better. We never really had that much confidence (in earlier games), but each of us thought of winning the game (today), so that added confidence helped us win as a team."
In the afternoon, Canada lost their 100% record as Norway made a late comeback to defeat them in an extra end.
Norway found themselves 4-1 down after only three ends but managed to level the game in the eighth end by stealing one point to take the game into an extra end, their second of the day.
Although Canada had last stone advantage, Norway set up the end well as their lead, Terje Rafdal, positioned a guard that protected a Norwegian stone that was sitting shot.
Norway continued to protect this stone throughout the end and after Canada skip Jim Armstrong failed with a raise take-out attempt with his last stone, Norway stole two points to win the game 8-6.
Following their comeback, Norway skip Rune Lorentsen said: “We played with too many faults in the first half - it was miss after miss. We had opportunities all the way and missed them.”
He continued: “As long as we keep winning most of our games, we are motivated. We don't have any medals from the Paralympics, so that's our goal this year. When we had two defeats, it didn't look that way, but today it is much better."
Like Norway, China made it two wins from two today as they won their game against Korea.
China took a clear advantage in the first half of the game as they went into the fourth end break 4-2 ahead.
In the fifth end they further extended their lead when their skip, Haitao Wang, made a draw through a narrow port to the button, to sit behind cover.
When Korea’s Jong-Pan Kim, playing as skip today, failed with a hit and roll attempt with his last stone, China eventually scored three points to extend their lead to 7-2
Korea finally conceded after seven ends of play after China stole again, one point in the sixth end and another three points in the seventh end, to make the final score China 11, Korea 2.
Slovakia meanwhile lost their 100% record as they were defeated by Great Britain, both teams having had a bye in the morning session of play.
Great Britain were already 6-2 ahead after five ends before Slovakian skip Radoslav Duris gave away a steal of four points to Great Britain after he was short with his final draw.
The teams played one more end where Great Britain stole another two points, at which point Slovakia conceded with the final score 12-2.
After the game, Great Britain skip Aileen Neilson said: “I came to the party today. The guys, all through the competition, have been a great support, but it's nice when I can come and actually play the way I know that I can play.”
Hosts Russia were the other winners in this session of play as they defeated the USA.
With the backing of a large home support, Russia took three points from the first two ends, while USA could only respond with one point in the third end.
Russia skip Andrey Smirnov then made a take-out around two guards to score two points and take a 5-1 lead going into the fourth end break.
Although the USA tried their best to get back into the game, stealing three points from the last two ends, it was too little too late and Russia won 6-5.
Following their win, Russia skip Andrey Smirnov said: "Almost the whole game we were dictating the play. We controlled the game."
On the pressure of playing in front of a large home crowd, he said: “At first we weren't used to it but now it helps us. It reassures us, the crowd supports us. We didn't expect such a large crowd so it's a big surprise."
Play begins tomorrow at 09:30 followed by another session at 15:30 (both times MSK).
Session 5: Korea 5, Russia 7; USA 2, Canada 7; Finland 6, Norway 8 (extra end), China 8, Sweden 4. (Bye – Great Britain and Slovakia)
Session 6: Slovakia 2, Great Britain 12; Korea 2, China 11; Russia 6, USA 5; Canada 6, Norway 8 (extra end). (Bye – Finland and Sweden)
Standings after 6 sessions of play:
1. Canada 4-1
1. Russia 4-1
3. Great Britain 3-1
3. Slovakia 3-1
5. China 3-2
5. Norway 3-2
7. Sweden 1-3
8. Korea 1-4
8. USA 1-4
10. Finland 0-4