Kerri Einarson and Val Sweeting tap fists while smilingTHE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck

Team Einarson wins bronze medal at World Women’s Curling Championship

Team Einarson earned a third-place finish at the World Women’s Curling Championship in Sandviken, Sweden by defeating Team Hasselborg of Sweden 8-5 during the bronze medal match on Sunday.

The Canadians started the match strong, quickly taking a 3-0 lead in the second end. With Canada leading by 5 points at the start of the sixth end, the Swedes, who were playing in front of their home crowd, pushed back in the second half of the match but could not orchestrate a comeback.

During the preliminary phase, Team Einarson had a record of 7 wins and 5 losses, placing them in position for a qualifying match against Japan. A 6-4 victory in that duel gave them a place in the semi-finals, where the Canadians lost 8-5 to Norway, missing out on a berth in the final.

This is a second consecutive podium finish for Team Einarson at a world championship. Last year, they also won a bronze medal by defeating the Swedes with a final score of 8-7.

Friday, March 24

Team Canada is into the playoffs at the World Women’s Curling Championship in Sandviken, Sweden.

Skip Kerri Einarson, third Val Sweeting, second Shannon Birchard, and lead Briane Harris finished the preliminary round on Friday with a 7-5 record.

That ensured they would be among the top six teams moving on to the elimination games this weekend. After the final draw was finished, Canada ranked third in the standings. That puts them into a qualification playoff game Saturday morning against Japan, who also finished with a 7-5 record. Italy and Sweden, who were both 7-5 as well, will play in the other qualification playoff game, with the winners moving on to face Switzerland (12-0) or Norway (8-4) in the semifinals.

The four-time Canadian champions, who won bronze at last year’s worlds, started the tournament very strongly before a bit of a roller coaster finish.

Team Einarson opened with a 9-4 win against the host Swedes, overcoming the very boisterous crowd there to support the 2018 Olympic champions.

The Canadians came just short of a second straight victory when they lost 8-7 to the United States on the last stone of the 10th end. But they bounced back quickly later that day. In a reversal of fortunes, Team Einarson watched Norway make a big miss with the hammer in the final end of a tied game. Canada stole three points to get the win.

Following those two thrillers, Canada had their best game of the tournament to that point as they came up with an easy 7-2 win against Italy. They improved their record to 4-1 — their best start ever at the worlds — with a 9-8 victory against Scotland that kept the team in second place in the standings.

Unfortunately, that little win streak came to a stop against the mighty Swiss, who have won the last three world titles. The Canadians were defeated 7-6 by Team Silvana Tirinzoni, who were the class of the field all week, going undefeated with one game to play.

After that, Team Einarson alternated between highs and lows. They bested winless New Zealand 10-4, but followed up with an 8-3 loss to Germany. With their record at 5-3, they dropped into a tie for third in the standings. They were able to maintain playoff pace by bouncing back with an 8-6 win over South Korea. Then came a heartbreaking 6-5 loss to Japan when Canada gave up a steal late in the game that took away their early control and momentum.

With the standings very bunched, Team Einarson needed to bring their best on the final day of round robin play. They started Friday with a 10-4 win over Turkey in eight ends.

In their last game against Denmark, Canada was down 7-3 at the fifth end break. After a single in six, Canada stole one in the seventh end to close the gap to 7-5. But a miss by Einarson on her last stone in the eighth allowed Denmark to score four. The Canadians conceded the 11-5 loss.

Their spot in the playoffs was secured after the United States lost their final game to drop down to 6-6. That gave the playoff positions to Switzerland, Norway, Canada, Italy, Sweden, and Japan.

The top two teams in the standings after the preliminary round advance directly into the semifinals. The teams ranked third to sixth will play qualification games on Saturday morning to see who will move on to the semis.

The bronze and gold medal games will take place on Sunday.