Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Draw 7 - Ice conditions excellent as curlers adapt to the rocks

First I owe the ice-makers an apology. A couple of days ago I quoted the Scots' coach as saying he was unhappy with the playing conditions. He mentioned difficult ice and new rocks, and made an analogy to challenging Tiger Woods to a putting contest on a ploughed field. That was not a reference to the ice. What I did not make clear was that the ice, while challenging, was in great shape. The ice-makers, who have been extremely cooperative to me, have done an excellent job getting the new surface in shape, and tournament leading Swedish skip Jalle Jungnell said he thought that the ice was excellent.

My apologies to the ice-makers for an unfortunate positioning of a quote. You're doing everyone proud.

Team Germany skip Jens Jaeger outplayed his Chinese counterpart in a very well executed 5-3 win in a game between top four teams. You can replay our commenatry in the post below. China had a chance to win at the end but their skip came up short on a potentially game saving draw on the last shot of the game.

Scotland sat skip Michael McCreadie to give a sore arm a chance to rest, and played an all female back end, probably a first for a major wheelchair curling tournament. Scotland shot a tournament best 59% but still came out on the short end of a 6 -5 decision.

Team USA left it late against Italy. They scored one in the eighth to tie the score at 4, and then watched Italy put a rock on the button and then throw a succession of semi-guards. Skip Perez' first stone had to travel through a narrow port to save the day. He was tight on the guard and Italian skip Tabanelli had a chance to close the port. But his guard again overcurled. Perez' last rock did not miss. He looked up to the ceiling, said a quick prayer, threw a rocket that smashed into the shot stone. Team USA erupted and then remembered that Italy had another rock to throw. When things quieted down, the Italian skip tried the same path but came up short. Team USA fight on with three losses, and play winless Switzerland this evening.

Sweden (4-1) beat faltering defending champions Norway 10 -6 with a four in the seventh end and a steal of two in the eighth.

Torino Gold Medalist Sonja Gaudet makes her first appearance of the tournament at lead, replacing a struggling Chris Sobkowicz.  Join us tonight for live blogging the Canada vs Korea at 6:00 PM Pacific time.

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