Laurier women's curling golden for Canada in Japan
Photo Credit: Rob Krepps - Canadian Men's Coach / Source: Laurier Sports Info
KARIUZAWA, Japan - Skip Laura Crocker of Scarborough, Ont., and the Wilfrid Laurier women's curling team capped an incredible week of action at the Kariuzawa International Curling Championship with a come-from-behind 9-8 victory in extra ends over Team Switzerland.
Crocker, vice Sarah Wilkes of Scarborough, Ont., second Jenny Gates of Sudbury, Ont., and lead Pamela Feldkamp of Burlington, Ont., stole a single point in 11th end, after forcing extras thanks to a three-spot with the hammer in the 10th end, to win the gold medal for Team Canada.
The Hawks earned their birth in the championship match thanks to a sparkling 5-2 round-robin record and a first-place finish in the standings. Playing against some of the best players in the world, including World Champions and Olympic-calibre athletes, Laurier earned victories over Korea, Japan, China, Denmark and a select team from Nagano, Japan during the round-robin while dropping close contests to both the Swiss and another select team from Japan.
Facing off against the Chinese once again in the semifinal, Crocker and her rink fell behind the 2009 World Champions 2-0 after three ends. However, a four spot in the fourth end, followed by a steal of four more in the fifth gave the Canadians a comfortable lead midway through the match.
China would cut into the advantage with three of their own in the sixth, followed by a steal of one in seven but singles in the eighth and tenth ends by Canada sent them through to the championship match.
Playing just an hour later in the final, Crocker and her team took to the ice against one of the teams that beat them in the round-robin, a 5-4 defeat in their opening game.
Switzerland took control of the match early, scoring two in the third and fifth ends, while the Canadians managed just a pair of singles with the hammer and trailed 4-2 after five ends. After the two teams traded single points in six and seven, Canada tied the game at five in the eighth with their first multi-score end of the match.
In the ninth end, the Swiss appeared to seal the game for themselves when they posted a three spot, taking an 8-5 lead into the last end. But Crocker and Team Canada fought back and earned three of their own in 10 to force extras.
In the final end, Canada set themselves up nicely for a steal, leaving Switzerland with a tough draw to the button to win. But the Swiss skip's shot was not on target and Canada celebrated with the gold medal.
Laurier: 4 Switzerland: 5
Laurier: 6 Korea: 5
Laurier: 8 Japan: 6
Laurier: 7 Nagano Selection: 4
Laurier: 2 Japan Selection: 3
Laurier: 6 China: 2
Laurier: 6 Denmark: 1
Laurier: 10 China - Semifinal #1: 8
Laurier: 9 Switzerland - Championship Game: 8