Saturday, March 24, 2007

Canada versus Denmark

AOMORI – It’s Canada versus Denmark for the world curling championship. Again.

Canada’s Kelly Scott will seek her third win of the week over Denmark’s Angelina Jensen in Sunday’s final of the 2007 World Women’s Championship.

On Saturday, Scott methodically picked apart the Danish team 11-3 to advance directly to the final, after having also beaten the Danes 8-1 in just seven ends during the round-robin.

Denmark then made a stunning comeback from both the loss to Canada and a 5-1 deficit to Scotland in Saturday night’s bronze medal game. The Danes scored steals in the eighth end (for two), the ninth end, and also the tenth (another two) for a 9-6 triumph in the de facto semi-final.

A disappointed Kelly Wood settled for bronze, the first medal of her international career.

The fun-loving Danes lept into each others’ arms following the improbable win. Madeleine Dupont, who throws skip stones for Jensen, admitted she though they had lost after the first five ends.

“It was really tough in the beginning,” said Dupont.

“I said, ‘let’s give up, we don’t believe in it… f**k it,’ actually,” Dupont giggled. “The others really thought we could do it.”

And what did her teammates say to her after the game?

“I told you so!” said Dupont.

Denmark also solved the Scots in the round-robin, winning that game by the same 9-6 linescore. Against Canada, the Danes know they will have to do something different.

“We have to be a little more aggressive,” said Dupont.

“Try and put a little more pressure on them than we did in the morning.”

Scott’s Canadian champions have rarely looked beatable in Aomori, and Scott is clearly focused on Sunday’s task.

“This year we’re not going to be satisfied unless we cap it off with a win,” said Scott, the 2006 third-place finisher.

“There’s no better time to go out and grab it.”

Against Denmark, the Canadian champions scored a deuce in the third end, followed by a steal of two in the fourth and another single in the fifth to build another 5-1 lead on their opponents.

In the seventh, the wheels fell off for the Danes as a cacophony of throwing and sweeping errors led to an enormous steal of five points. After going through the motions in the eighth, Jensen managed a point and promptly conceded.

“We expected a much tighter game but we’ll take ’em and run,” said Scott.

The Danes wrecked repeatedly on guards, missing the shots they had made earlier in the week.

The loss was their third in a row following an 8-1 start, but they managed a shocking regroup against the Scots.

The lineup is also quite different, as Jensen threw second stones (up from lead) and alternate Ane Hanson is seeing action. Jensen’s sister Camilla, the regular second, had to leave Japan on Friday to write a university exam in Copenhagen.

It was the biggest playoff trouncing at the women’s worlds since Canada’s Cathy Borst stomped Norway’s Dordi Nordby 10-2 in the 1988 bronze medal game.

The championship final marks only the second meeting between the countries in major international women’s finals. In 1998, just a few hours away in Karuizawa, Japan, Canada’s Sandra Schmirler defeated Denmark’s Helena Blach Lavrsen 7-5 to win Olympic gold.

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