Jennifer Jones holds the broom in the houseAndrew Lahodynskyj/COC
Andrew Lahodynskyj/COC

Playoff hopes for Team Jennifer Jones goes down to final draw in women’s curling

Team China stole points in the first and last ends to upset Canada 11-9 Wednesday evening in Beijing to send the playoff hopes of Team Jennifer Jones down to the final round robin draw of the 2022 Olympic Winter Games.

The loss was costly for Team Jones as it dropped their record to 4-4 and put them back into a pack of six teams battling it out for the final two spots in the semifinals. Switzerland at 7-1 and Sweden at 6-2 have qualified. Still alive are Japan at 5-3, Canada, Great Britain and Korea at 4-4 and the United States and China at 4-5.

In the final draw Thursday afternoon Canada plays 2-6 Denmark, Great Britain plays 1-7 Russia, Japan takes on Switzerland and Korea will meet Sweden.

Jones, third Kaitlyn Lawes, second Jocelyn Peterman and lead Dawn McEwen, had a terrible start and a disappointing finish against China, which changed its lineup two games earlier, removing skip Han Yu and moving Rui Wang from third to skip.

“It was definitely a battle,” Lawes said afterwards. “I’m proud of us coming back from being down early. A little disappointed in the end but still proud. That’s curling and unfortunately sometimes that happens.”

For only the second time in eight games, Canada had the hammer to begin the game but promptly surrendered that advantage. China stole one in the first and two in the second while the whole Jones team struggled to find their game.

They did that in the fourth end, stealing a deuce after scoring one in the second to tie the game 3-3.

Even scoring five in the sixth end for an 8-5 lead wasn’t enough for Jones to hold off the young and mostly inexperienced host team that countered with two in the seventh and a steal of one in the eighth to regain a tie.

Canada constantly found itself having to attempt run back shots to get out of difficulty and as often as not, they couldn’t execute the shots, especially in the final few ends. That allowed Wang to hit and roll behind cover to force Jones to take a single with hammer in the ninth.

Wang, who outshot Jones 86 percent to 68, had a chance to win the game in the tenth end but her difficult hit and stick rolled inches too far and she settled for a single. In the extra end Canada twice missed peels of guards that allowed China to get shot rocks inside the four foot. Jones couldn’t connect properly on run backs with both her stones, leaving China to steal the two winning points.

“Pretty much the only shot I had, to try to make the double,” Jones said of her final stone. “it was a tough shot. I had thrown something similar on my first but unfortunately (the second shot) just curled a little bit too much.

“It’s disappointing for sure. That was a game we really wanted to win.”

Team Canada finished with a 79 percent shooting percentage compared to 87 for China. Alternate Xindi Jiang, who was called in to play lead after Yu was removed, shot a game-high 97 percent.