Photo: AP/Mark Schiefelbein
Photo: AP/Mark Schiefelbein

Team Canada to play for gold at World Women’s Curling Championship

After a perfect 11-0 round robin record, Team Canada won the 1-2 page playoff on Friday morning to advance directly to Sunday’s final at the World Women’s Curling Championship in Beijing.

Team Homan (skip Rachel Homan, third Emma Miskew, second Joanne Courtney, lead Lisa Weagle) defeated Russia, skipped by three-time world bronze medallist Anna Sidorova, 7-3 in nine ends.

Canada started the game with the hammer. After blanking the first end, they had to settle for a single point in the second after Homan’s draw attempt for two was a little heavy. Russia capitalized on their first time with last rock, scoring two in the third end. But the Canadians came right back, as Homan was able to make an open draw for two and a 3-2 lead.

“It was definitely different (ice conditions); it was the quickest we’ve seen it, obviously,” Homan told Curling Canada. “And it’s all stuff that we’ll learn from and take forward into the final.”

Canada got a steal of one in the fifth end when Sidorova overcurled on a raise takeout and then were able to force the Russians to a single in the sixth. That gave Canada the hammer for the seventh, where a draw from Homan restored the two point lead. Canada got another steal in the eight when Sidorova couldn’t convert a double takeout, giving them a 6-3 lead heading to the ninth. After another steal of one by Canada, the Russians conceded the game.

“I think we made a lot of key shots that game,” Miskew told Curling Canada. “The ice was a little different than it has been all week and that always happens in the playoffs when there’s only one game out there. But I thought we did a nice job of making the right shots when we needed to.”

Homan and company now have a full day off before the gold medal game, which will be broadcast on TSN at 3am ET Sunday morning. They could face a rematch with Russia, who will play the winner of the 3-4 page playoff between Sweden and Scotland in Saturday’s semifinal.

Just the third women’s team to ever roll through the round robin undefeated, Team Homan has a chance at becoming the first rink to ever win the women’s world title without a loss. In 2003, Canada’s Colleen Jones had to settle for silver after a perfect round robin. In 2005, Sweden’s Anette Norberg won gold, but had to come back from losing the 1-2 page playoff.

Canada’s Lisa Weagle, center, watches as her teammates Emma Miskew, left, and Joanne Courtney sweep a path for the stone during their match against Italy in the CPT World Women’s Curling Championship in Beijing, Thursday, March 23, 2017. (AP Photo/Mark Schiefelbein)

Also at stake on Sunday is a chance to win Canada’s 16th women’s world championship gold medal. It’s been nine years since the last one courtesy of Team Jennifer Jones in 2008.

“You always want to bring back gold for your country,” said Homan. “Canada’s been missing it for a while, so we’re really trying to give it everything we have to give it a hundred per cent on Sunday and bring back that gold for Canada.”

Whatever the final result, Canada is now confirmed to have qualified a women’s curling team for PyeongChang 2018. The fierce battle for the Olympic berths will take place at the national trials in Ottawa in early December.