Mixed Doubles Curling at Audi quattro Winter Games New Zealand

Finals of the Mixed Doubles Curling at the Audi quattro Winter Games NZ

Canada win curling gold at Winter Games New Zealand

Thursday August 27, 2015

Canada 1 beat USA 5-4 in a thrilling final to claim the gold medal in the Audi quattro Winter Games New Zealand 2015 Mixed Doubles Curling Tournament in Naseby today.

USA took home silver, while Finland snapped up bronze.

In the final, Canada’s Charley Thomas and Kalynn Park scored two in the opening end, and after they stole the fourth end they went into the break with a handy 4-1 lead.

The young USA team of Sarah Anderson and Korey Dropkin played immaculately for the next three ends and as the final end started the scores were level at 4-4, but it was Canada who held the crucial last stone advantage.

The Canadians took their powerplay (positioning the stationary stones to the side) to keep the centre of the house clear, but the USA did everything possible to steal.

When Charley Thomas came to play Canada’s second-to-last stone he faced an American stone in the centre of the house that appeared to be well guarded. He judged his hit perfectly, squeezing past the guard to clip a corner of the shot stone and send it into the side boards.

When Anderson’s last draw for USA was just a fraction deep, Kalynn Park just needed to follow it in to score the single the Canadians needed for the win and the gold medal.

Park was relieved after the teams came off the ice. “It was intense out there, a really great game,” she said. “I struggled a bit but Charley played really well, I was just relieved I made that final shot. And the USA team were great – they played really well all week and they certainly deserved to be in the final.”

Korey Dropkin was upbeat after the game, despite not winning the gold. “The week’s been great, we’ve enjoyed every second of this tournament,” he commented. “The other athletes have been awesome with us, we’ve just enjoyed the whole experience. And playing top teams at this level just helps us all improve our game and our future careers.”

Finland led Japan 2-0 after two ends of the bronze medal game, and after the sides traded threes the Finns maintained the margin to lead 5-3 at the fourth end break.

The key moment came in the fifth end when Japan held three well-guarded shots and tried to draw a fourth in. It just hung out a little wide, and left Finland a small opportunity. Katja Kiiskinen judged a tough hit-and-roll perfectly, with her stone spinning almost square to sit on the button nestled amongst the Japanese stones.

Kiiskinen and Pauli Jäämies stole that end and the next for Finland, and ran the Japanese couple Michiko and Kenji Tomabechi out of stones in the last end.

“Of course we would have liked to be in the final,” said Jäämies after the game, “but the USA played very well this morning and they deserved their win. This afternoon our hitting game was the best for us all week, and we also had good draw weight. So we’re very happy with our bronze.”

The semi-finals were held earlier in the day. The Japanese side went into their semi against Canada 1 hoping to put the memory of yesterday’s one-sided 11-0 loss to the back of their minds, and today’s contest was much closer.

The scores were level at 5-5 after five ends, but Canada made the decisive break, and they eventually ran Japan out of stones in the last end to win 9-5.

USA broke open their semi-final against Finland in the fourth end when Sarah Anderson chipped out an opposition stone sitting as second shot, giving USA a score of four points. There was some outstanding shot-making from both sides but the Americans finished it off in style with a double takeout from Korey Dropkin, followed a couple of shots later by Anderson chipping a Finnish stone off the button to score another four and give the USA a 10-4 win.

Visit, http://curling.org.nz/index.php/2015-wgnz, for more from the Audi Quattro Winter Games New Zealand curling event, including all the week’s results and teams.

Day 3 - Last four set for live medal battle

Wednesday August 26, 2015

Finland will play USA and Japan will take on Canada 1 in the semi-finals of the Audi quattro Winter Games NZ 2015 Mixed Doubles Curling Tournament in Naseby, New Zealand on Thursday morning local time.

The semi-finals and Gold Medal game will be streamed live above.

At the start of play on Wednesday morning all six teams in Group A were still in contention for the three play-off spots. Australia stole doubles in the last two ends to beat China 8-5, and the New Zealand team were millimetres away from a difficult angled raise for a last stone win, but lost their encounter to USA 6-5.

“We’re definitely playing a lot better in the second half of the tournament,” said Canada’s Charley Thomas. “We’re getting a better handle on the ice conditions, and putting rocks in better positions.”

Japan and USA had already qualified, and the morning round left New Zealand 1 and Canada 1 facing a tiebreaker later in the day.

The qualifiers from Group B were known before their last round, so the contest was for top spot and direct entry to the semi-finals. New Zealand 2 had the opportunity to secure that position but fell to Canada 2 in a high-scoring 10-9 game. Finland topped the group after beating China 11-2, and Australia 2 scored their second win, 7-5 against the Koreans.

New Zealand stole the first three ends of the mid-afternoon tiebreaker against Canada 1, but Canada came back and eventually scored the single they needed in the last end, but not before a nervous moment as their last-stone hit jammed and the New Zealand rock rolled just far enough for the Canadian stone to count.

The two Canadian sides faced off in one of the evening quarter-finals. 2014 Canadian champions Wayne and Kim Tuck played the 2015 side of Charley Thomas and Kalynn Park. The latter pair struggled early, losing three of their first four matches but have found some form at the business end of the tournament. Canada 1’s Thomas used his precision hitting at crucial moments to help his side to a 6-2 win.

Team USA’s Korey Dropkin and Sarah Anderson faced the local favourites, the New Zealand 2 side of Bridget and Scott Becker in the other quarter-final. The Americans were ahead 7-1 at the fourth end break and the Kiwis shook hands at 10-4 after seven ends.

11:00 NZST Thursday 27 September (23:00 GMT Wednesday 26)
Japan v USA
Finland v Canada 1 (Park/Thomas)

Gold Medal Game:
15:30 NZST Thursday 27 September (03:30 GMT Thursday)

Visit, http://curling.org.nz/index.php/2015-wgnz, for more from the Audi Quattro Winter Games New Zealand curling event.

Day 2 - First Mixed Doubles Countries qualify in Naseby

Tuesday 25 August, 2015

The first countries to qualify for the knock-out stages of the Mixed Doubles Curling event at the Audi quattro Winter Games New Zealand, in Naseby, have been determined.

With one round of games still to play in each of the two groups, Canada 2, Finland and New Zealand 2 will progress from Group B, while Japan and the USA have qualified from Group A.

This leaves just one more play-off spot for the remaining four sides to compete for.

This morning the USA were on the ball early, scoring five in the first end against Australia 1, despite coming up just short with their final draw. The teams shook hands after six ends with the Americans ahead 11-1.

“We’re feeling good and are getting used to the ice,” said Team USA’s Korey Dropkin. “We had a tough opening game but now we’re starting to make some shots and get into it.”

Canada 1 recorded their first success with a 7-3 win against New Zealand 1, and Japan’s third victory was 9-2 over the Czech Republic.

The midday round saw Australia 2 take their first win of the week, and in doing so inflicted the first loss on New Zealand 2. Matt Panoussi and Jennifer Westhagen scored three in the penultimate end to level the scores and then stole the last. 

Canada 2 were untroubled to beat China 9-3, and Finland’s second win was against the Koreans 10-2.
“We had never played Mixed Doubles as a team before, and it took a while to find our way and get our communication together,” explained Finland’s Katja Kiiskinen.

In the third round of the day Japan withstood a fight back from Australia 1, scoring two points in the last end to hang on 8-5. The USA had a 7-4 win in the North American derby against Canada 1, and New Zealand 1 kept their play-off hopes alive with their second success, 9-3 over the Czech Republic.

The evening round saw the Chinese development team record their first win of the tournament with a 7-3 victory over Australia 2. The young China side were delighted. “I have only been playing for two years, and my partner for one year,” said Ju Feijiaking. “This tournament has been excellent, we have learned a lot.”

Canada 2 suffered their first loss, beaten 8-6 in an extra end by Finland in a game where both sides had their share of fortune at different times. A Korean miss on an open hit against New Zealand 1 in the seventh end allowed the Kiwis an open draw to score three and secure the buffer they needed for an eventual 8-6 win.

The final group rounds take place early Wednesday, when the last qualifier will be found from Group A and the rankings confirmed. They will be followed by a tiebreaker if necessary and quarter-finals. Semi-finals and the medal matches will be held on Thursday.

Local organisers have arranged a live stream for Thursday’s action, which will be available through http://worldcurling.org.

Visit, http://curling.org.nz/index.php/2015-wgnz, for more from the Audi Quattro Winter Games New Zealand curling event.

Day 1 - Mixed Doubles Curling begins at Audi quattro Winter Games New Zealand

Monday 24 August, 2015

Japan, Canada 2 and New Zealand 2 were the unbeaten teams after the first day of the Audi quattro Winter Games New Zealand Mixed Doubles Curling Tournament in Naseby, New Zealand.

It was the young New Zealand 1 side of Eleanor Adviento and Brett Sargon, playing in their first international Mixed Doubles event, who were first on the scoreboard for the host nation. They capitalised on some early misses by Australia 1 to score four points in the first end, before going on to record an 11-2 win in their opening Group A encounter.

“We’re pretty happy with that,” said Sargon after the game. “The ice was a bit tricky to read in places but we made the important shots and couldn’t have asked for a better start.”

Also smiling were the Czech pair Jana Jelinkova and Ondrej Mihola after they stole the last two ends to beat the favoured Canada 1 team 7-4.

“It was fantastic,” Miholo commented. “We still can’t quite believe it, Canada are the best team here, so we are very happy.”

Japan won the other opening round encounter with a final end steal to beat the USA 7-3.
The six Group B teams started their tournament in the second draw of the day. The experienced New Zealand 2 side of Bridget Becker and brother Scott took an early lead against Finland to lead 4-0 by the fourth end break.

However, the Finns came back to level the scores with two ends to play. A score of three in the next made the game safe for the Kiwis, and they ran out winners 8-4.

Korea did not lead their match against the Chinese until the seventh end, but then stole the last to take the match 9-6. Canada 2 led all the way in the other match of the round, and eventually ran Australia 2 out of stones in the last end to secure their 8-3 win.

The third draw saw Group A back on the ice, and Japan continued their strong start to the tournament with an 8-3 result over New Zealand 1.

The fortunes of USA and Australia 1 improved in their second games of the day. The Americans beat the Czech Republic 10-2, while the Australians defeated the reigning Canadian champions 8-3.

In the final round Canada 2 got off to a flyer, stealing four points in the first end with a nest of granite around the 4-foot that Korea could not penetrate. The Canadians went on to record their second win of the day 7-5. New Zealand 2 joined them at the top of Group B with a 6-3 win against the youthful Chinese pair, and the Finns recorded their first success 9-6 against Australia 2.

Pool play in the Mixed Doubles tournament will continue through until Wednesday when the top three from each group will qualify for the play-off rounds. The medals will be decided on Thursday.

Local organisers have arranged a live stream for Thursday’s action, which will be available through http://worldcurling.org.

Visit, http://curling.org.nz/index.php/2015-wgnz, for more from the Audi Quattro Winter Games New Zealand curling event.
Content courtesy of Ian Ford, Winter Games New Zealand