Gangneung, Republic of Korea – In Thursday’s (23 February) concluding women’s round robin session of the VoIP Defender World Junior Curling Championships 2017, Japan, Canada, Korea and Sweden were the four winners.
But, while the round robin may be over, there are still final placings to be resolved before the championship can move into its play-off stage at the Gangneung Curling Centre, Gangneung, Republic of Korea.
Top-ranked Scotland sat out this session, already confirmed as being number one in the rankings – a position that gives them last stone advantage in their next game, the Page 1v2 play-off on Friday afternoon (14.00, +9 UTC: live on World Curling TV).
Sweden had also qualified for the play-offs, and their 6-4 win over Switzerland confirmed them in second place, meaning they will be Scotland’s opponents. The winner of this Page 1v2 game will take the direct route to the final, while the loser will be given a second chance to join them, by playing in the sole semi-final against the winner of the Page 3v4 play-off.
Canada beat the USA by 9-3 to rank third overall, and take their place in the Page 3v4 game, also at 14:00 (+9 UTC) on Friday.
Korea and Switzerland both lost in this session – Russia beat Korea by 4-3 while Switzerland lost to the Swedes. These results meant that three teams – Korea, Russia and Switzerland - all tied in fourth place on five wins each. With the poorest record among the three, Russia dropped out of play-off contention, to rank sixth overall. To decide fourth and fifth places, Korea and Switzerland now go on to a Friday (24 February) morning (09.00, +9 UTC) tie-breaker, with the winner taking up the fourth Page slot and the loser ranking fifth. The winners of the Page 3v4 game go onto the semi-final and the loser plays for bronze medals against the eventual semi-final losers.
From this year’s championship, only the top six finishers and next year’s hosts, Scotland, will go directly into the line-up for the World Junior Curling Championships 2018 in Aberdeen, Scotland (3-11 March). USA’s loss to Canada and Japan’s 7-4 victory over Hungary meant that both of these teams finished on four wins, tied for seventh. As a result, Japan and USA will also play a tie-breaker on Friday morning, with the winner ranking seventh overall and the loser finishing eighth and therefore relegated to next year’s World Junior-B Curling Championships, along with Hungary (ninth) and Turkey (tenth).
Thursday evening saw the final men’s round robin session staged in the Gangneung Curling Centre, Gangneung, Republic of Korea, and it took all the way to an extra end in the game between Scotland and Canada for the dust to settle on the final standings.
Even at that the final four qualifiers for the Page play-offs, at the VoIP Defender World Junior Curling Championships 2017, have not yet been decided.
Table-toppers Korea had already qualified before they played Switzerland in this session, and they consolidated their top spot with an 11-6 win that also confirmed the Swiss in sixth place. Meanwhile, USA beat China by 6-4 to finish second overall. They now face Korea in Friday (24 February) afternoon’s Page 1v2 play-off game at 19.00 (+9 UTC: live on World Curling TV).
Scotland’s 9-8 extra end win over Canada put them into third spot for the play-offs, with Canada now facing a tie-breaker with Norway, who sat out this session for the fourth play-off slot. The tie-breaker will be played at 09.00 (+9 UTC) on Friday.
USA, Scotland, Canada and Norway all finished on the same won six, lost three record and it has taken a combination of wins among them and draw shot challenge results to give them the ranking they have.
In the session’s fourth game, Turkey beat Italy by 8-2 to record their first win of the week. Despite this, they still finished tenth and last, while Italy were ninth. Both are now relegated to next year’s World Junior-B Curling Championships, along with seventh-placed China.
They said it
Misaki Tanaka; skip, Japan (after 7-4 win over Hungary): “We were good at the take-out game this week, but in this competition, we also learned how to be good at offensive play. However, we were unable to demonstrate this week everything we learned in the Junior-B championships.”
Kristen Streifel; skip, Canada (after 9-3 win over USA): “Heading into today, we just knew that it was a fresh day. I’m really proud of the girls for their performance and all we could do was win this game and see how the cards fall. Our first goal was to qualify for play-offs and now we can take a deep breath and settle in and get ready to play a few more games.”
Maria Baksheeva; skip, Russia (after 4-3 win over Korea): “We don’t have the chance to play in the tie-breaker, so we are a little disappointed. We will be sixth. But, we showed that we are a strong team and that we can beat the teams at the top of the league. I have one more year as a junior. We had a really bad start to the week. Maybe we had problems with jetlag. We lost the first three games and we came here just one day before the competition started.”
They said it
Cameron Bryce; skip, Scotland (after 9-8 extra end win over Canada): “We started really well, scoring a two in the first end and putting the pressure on from there. There was a lot at stake in that game. This is my last year of juniors too, so I didn’t want that to be my last game and I think we stepped up when we needed it. Every team that’s got to this stage is good enough to get to the play-offs, so we’ve got to treat everyone with equal respect.”
Ki Jeong Lee; skip, Korea (after 11-6 win over Switzerland): “Today we didn’t feel that great and our mood wasn’t that great. We paid attention to each shot because we tried to practice for the next games. Now, we will forget about the round robin games, so when we meet teams in the play-offs we will think about them as a new team.”
Andrew Stopera; skip, USA (after 6-4 win over China): “Anytime I have a shot like that for the win, the boys did a good job. China played a good game but it was a win, so that always feels good. The boys are playing well and I hope we can keep going.”
Ugurcan Karagoz; skip, Turkey (after 8-2 win over Italy): “This game made us really happy, although it wasn’t quite enough. We had good plays and all of these teams are top level – really good teams. This is my last year but we are still happy we got to be a part of this tournament.”