Canada wins gold at curling worlds

The Canadian Press
Gregory Strong

NORTH BAY, Ont.–Canada’s Jennifer Jones won tight games, blowouts, and even pulled out some victories that easily could have been losses at the world women’s curling championship.
She found a new way to win in yesterday’s final by catching a remarkable break in an extra end.
A tough back-and-forth gold-medal game against Sweden ended in dramatic fashion at the North Bay Memorial Gardens when Anna Hasselborg missed a pick that would have forced Jones to throw for the victory, giving Canada a 7-6 win.
“I fully expected her to make a shot like that,” said Canada second Jill Officer.
“I was in a little bit of disbelief that she missed it but then a little bit of relief, too.”
Jones, Officer, lead Dawn McEwen, third Kaitlyn Lawes, and alternate Shannon Birchard ran the table at 14-0.
It was the second career world title in six appearances for Jones, who previously won in 2008.
She won Olympic gold with her Winnipeg foursome at the 2014 Games in Sochi.
Sweden scored a deuce in the 10th end to pull even and did well to clog the centre and right side of the sheet in the extra end.
Jones tried to throw a guard on the left side, which had not seen much action. She incurred a hog-line violation after coming up very light.
Hasselborg was hoping to clear out a Canada stone to sit one and really put the pressure on Jones. But the Swedish stone was a few millimetres wide and the host side could celebrate.
“It felt perfect, nice and clean,” Hasselborg recalled. “I really thought it was there.”
Lawes, who won mixed doubles gold in Pyeongchang, helped set up the end with a hit-and-roll under cover to sit two.
Hasselborg used her first stone to roll on top of the Canadian rock.
After a 12-0 round-robin record, Canada edged American Jamie Sinclair in the semi-finals.
It was an emotional week as Officer is leaving competitive curling at the end of the season.
“Unbelievable, I’m so happy,” Jones said. “I can’t say enough about my team. We had a great week.
“We soaked up the atmosphere in the crowd and had fun in that final.
“I’m just so thrilled to be able to stand on top of the podium with these girls one more time,” she added.
Hasselborg won Olympic gold last month in Pyeongchang. Jones is a whisker ahead of No. 2 Hasselborg in the world rankings.
The lively sell-out crowd of 3,919 did its best to provide a boost for the host side. The Canadians built on their momentum by forcing Sweden to a single in the seventh end and a blank followed in the eighth.
With the game tied 4-4 in the ninth end and two stones close to the pin, Jones threw a runback to score two for the lead.
But Hasselborg responded with a run double for a pair to force an extra end.
“I’d rather lose a final when you’re playing great,” Hasselborg said.
“I’m so proud of my team for battling through it.”
Earlier in the day, Victoria Moiseeva won bronze after making a draw for two to give Russia a 6-5 win over the U.S.
“Every skip wants to finish with that kind of shot,” Moiseeva said. “If you make it.”
Jones defeated Hasselborg 8-4 earlier in the week. Sweden went 10-2 in round-robin play to earn the second seed and beat Russia in the semi-finals.
Sweden’s Anette Norberg is the only women’s skip to win Olympic and world titles in the same season (in 2006).
Jones also won world silver in 2015 and bronze in 2010.
“They’ve won everything there is to win,” said Canadian national team coach Elaine Dagg-Jackson.
“I think we’ll look back and go, ‘That was one of the greatest teams in women’s curling.'”
Brad Gushue of St. John’s, N.L. will represent Canada at the world men’s curling championship that starts Saturday in Las Vegas.