Swedens halts USA win streak in Saint John

By Terry Kolesar | March 17, 2014, 12 a.m. (ET)

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March 17, 2014

Sweden halts USA win streak at 2014 Women's World Championship 

(SAINT JOHN, NB, Canada) - After a 3-0 start in Saint John, Team USA's win streak hit a Swedish bump in the road at the Harbour Station as the round robin of the 2014 Ford World Women's Curling Championship presented by Booster Juice swept along this morning.

Sweden's Margaretha Sigfridsson rink defeated Allison Pottinger and Team USA 8-5 on the last rock of the game.

"We knew it would be a tough game. They're a great team; they're Olympic medalists; they're world champions," said Pottinger, who is making her 12th appearance for Team USA at the women's world championship. "We knew it would be a great game. We knew it would come down to the last shot in the last end." 

Pottinger (Eden Prairie, Minn.) and teammates Nicole Joraanstad (Verona, Wis.), Natalie Nicholson (Bemidji, Minn.), and Tabitha Peterson (Eagan, Minn.) shot 84 percent in the loss, but Sweden, which earned silver in Sochi, made key shots late in the game that held off the U.S. team.

"I think that she has a good team; it was one of those games that you want to win because I think they could be a playoff team," Sigfridsson said about the win over the U.S. ladies, who are now 3-1 in the 11-game round robin. 

The game was a back-and-forth battle for the American ladies against the Swedish Olympic team as the teams traded deuces early on with both sides playing solid defense to hold one another to singles during the middle ends. 

"We're not disappointed. I think we're going to learn a little bit from the ice and how much it tightens up that back half, and come out tonight ready to go," Pottinger said. The U.S. returns to the ice to take on host Canada (2-1). That game will be featured live via webstream tonight. 

With the game tied 2-2, Team USA was forced to draw for the single in the fourth end to take a 3-2 advantage. With Sweden sitting two in scoring position in the fifth end, Pottinger used the final American stone to remove one and leave her stone in the rings. Sweden was able to remove it to score two more and take back the lead. Sweden then forced the U.S. into a single again in the sixth end to even the score once more.

After holding Sweden to a single in the seventh end, a few half shots by the U.S. resulted in Pottinger drawing into the four-foot with the final stone to make the score 5-5. USA used Joraanstad's first vice skip stone in that end to near freeze to a Swedish stone in the four-foot just behind the tee-line. Sweden was able to chip it out and Joraanstad's second stone slipped through the back of the house, leaving the Swedes with two stones in scoring position. Pottinger's first stone - a freeze attempt to a stone in the back eight-foot - over-curled, leaving Sweden to remove it and sit three, setting up the force of one.

Early in the ninth end, Sweden got the deuce set up by drawing around the American corner guard, placing their stone in the top of the eight-foot. USA took advantage of a freeze attempt that Sweden wasn't perfect with and made a takeout to place two stones in scoring position later in the end. Prytz used the first skip stone to make a takeout that left Sweden's stone nearly welded to the American rock. Pottinger, however, was able to chip it out, but Sweden found a way to hit-and-stay for the critical two points. 

Needing to score a deuce at a minimum in the final end, the U.S. positioned a stone in the side of the eight foot behind a corner guard but couldn't keep it protected. Joraanstad's first draw to replace the stone after Sweden removed it came up short of the house. The U.S. then was chasing Sweden for the remainder of the end. Pottinger was left with a tough double takeout to try to score two points. Using the soft weight needed to keep the shooter stone in play, the U.S. made contact with both Swedish stones but not enough to move them both out of scoring position and Sweden stole a point to earn the 8-5 victory.

"We struggled a little bit with ice. Even my last draw in 10, we just needed less broom. It tightened up and we just didn't catch it quick enough," Pottinger said.

The U.S. returns to the ice at 7:30 p.m. ADT against Canada's Rachel Homan, who won bronze last year at the world championship in Riga, Latvia, with a win over the U.S.

In other round robin action this morning, Switzerland improved to 4-0 to be the only undefeated team left in the field after a lopsided 8-2 victory over Latvia (1-3). Russia improved to 3-1 with a 7-3 defeat of Germany (0-4). China earned its second straight win with an 8-6 victory over Korea's 2014 Olympic team to leave both sides with 2-2 records.

USA line score:
*USA 200 101 010 0 - 5 
Sweden 020 020 102 1 - 8 
*last rock in first end

Draw 5 results: Switzerland 8, Latvia 2; Russia 7, Germany 3; Sweden 8, USA 5; China 8, Korea 6

Switzerland (Feltscher) 4-0
Sweden (Sigfridsson) 3-1
USA (Pottinger) 3-1
Russia (Sidorova) 3-1
Canada (Homan) 2-1
China (Liu) 2-2
Korea (Kim) 2-2
Denmark (Dupont) 1-2
Scotland (Barr) 1-2
Latvia (Regza) 1-3
Czech Republic (Kubeskova) 0-3
Germany (Lehmann) 0-4

After the round robin concludes, the top four teams will advance to the Page playoffs on March 22. In the Page playoff format, the top two teams face off in the 1-2 game with the winner advancing to the final and the loser playing the winner of the game between the teams ranked third and fourth in a single semifinal. The winner of the semifinal becomes the other contender for the gold medal on March 23. 

Here is a look at Team USA's round robin schedule (all times listed as ADT):
* Tuesday, March 18: USA v. Russia, 2:30 p.m.; USA v. Switzerland, 7:30 p.m.
* Wednesday, March 19: USA v. Czech Republic, 9:30 a.m.; USA v. Latvia, 7:30 p.m.
* Thursday, March 20: USA v. Korea, 9:30 a.m.; USA v. Scotland, 2:30 p.m.
* Friday, March 21: Tiebreaker games, if needed, 9:30 a.m., 2:30 p.m.; Page 1-2 game, 7:30 p.m.
* Saturday, March 22: Page 3-4 game, 9 a.m.; semifinal, 2 p.m.
* Sunday, March 23: Bronze-medal game, 12 p.m.; gold-medal game, 7:30 p.m.

2018 Olympic Qualification:

In addition, the 2014 World Curling Championships mark the start of a new qualification period for the next Olympic Winter Games in 2018 in Pyeongchang, South Korea.

All WCF member associations competing in Saint John and at the 2014 World Men's Curling Championship in Beijing later this month will be eligible to enter the next WCF Olympic Qualification Event, which is scheduled to take place in December 2017 should they not make it to the 2018 Olympic Games on direct qualification.

TV & Webstream:

World Curling TV (WCTV), the television arm of the World Curling Federation, is providing extensive live and video-on-demand coverage to broadcasters around the world from Saint John. WCF broadcast partners for the event include TV4 in Sweden, Russia 2 in Russia, CCTV in China, Universal Sports Network in the USA, SporTV in Brazil, TSN in Canada (RDS in Quebec).

In addition, selected live coverage of the 2014 World Championship events is available via the World Curling Federation's YouTube Channel at www.youtube.com/WorldCurlingTV.

Event information links:

Social media:
Facebook, USA Curling: https://www.facebook.com/pages/USA-Curling/107975609011 
Facebook, event: www.facebook.com/WorldWomensCurlingChampionship
Twitter Hashtags: #FWWCC #curling

USA Curling is sponsored by AtomAmpd, Nike, Brooms Up Curling Supplies, Sitrin, and The RAM Restaurant & Brewery, BalancePlus, and is partnered with Hilton HHonors, United Airlines, RJM Licensing Inc., and CurlingZone.


For more information: Terry Kolesar, press officer, Team USA, terry.kolesar@usacurl.org, +1-719-207-5083 (RUS mobile) or 608-338-9900 (U.S. mobile).