There will be a new women's curling gold medalist for the PyeongChang Games.
For the first time since curling came into the Olympics, a Canadian team was eliminated without reaching the medal stand. After starting the Games with three straight losses, Canada, the 2014 gold medalists and defending world champions, tried to make up room in the standings, winning three straight. But after falling to China Monday, Canada was officially eliminated from medal contention with a 6-5 loss to Great Britain.
"That game was massive. I kind of knew the outcome, win or lose, and it would have made it hard for ourselves if we had dropped that game," British skip Eve Muirhead told reporters after the game. "So as a team, we played a fantastic game, very high-class, and that was always going to be the case for Great Britain (versus) Canada. We played a perfect final end, and a perfect eighth end as well to get our deuce, and then force the ninth, and got our two in 10."
"Obviously a little bit disappointed. We wanted to try and qualify and make the playoffs for Canada. We gave it all we had. We never gave up, and that's the way it goes sometimes. That's sport," said Canadian skip Rachel Homan. "I thought we played really well. I don't know."
The two teams went back and forth, and played like two of the best teams in the world throughout. Canada lied two in the second, and had a chance for a third when skip Rachel Homan's hammer came up short, leaving points on the board but giving the Canadians a 2-1 lead.
They were able to steal another in the third.
Down 4-2, British skip Eve Muirhead purposefully blanked the seventh end to keep hammer in hopes of picking up points for a tie in the eighth. It worked perfectly. Britain lied two with each team having one stone remaining. Homan's final throw took out a British stone, but also one of her own, making for an easy two points for Britain to make up the deficit.
In the 9th, Muirhead had a perfect shot off of her own guard for a double takeout, forcing Homan to settle for just one point after what could have been the shot of the game by Muirhead.
"That was the big shot and it kind of turned the tables, a little bit," Muirhead said. "As a skip, I guess these are the shots you have to make. Really pleased it came off, and to book ourselves in the semifinal at the Olympic Games is really special. When I threw it, I was just hoping it was going to come off and the angles were going to work out."
Britain finally put the game away in the 10th, lying four inside with one stone each remaining. Homan's final throw was too soft and undercurled, giving Britain the two points they needed for the win.
Britain now improves to 6-3, and has qualified for the semifinals with no more round robin games remaining.
Canada falls to 3-5, and will finish round robin play against Team OAR Wednesday morning.
"I think that what we all need to gain perspective on is that it's so much bigger than winning a medal," said Canadian Coach Adam Kingsbury. "Of course, was that the goal to come here? No question. Does Canada have an incredible record in this game? Absolutely. But don't forget that this game is growing internationally and all of these teams here have played remarkable against us. Being an Olympian is something that no one can ever take away from them. I think that they handled themselves well all week. I just have so much pride and I'm so proud of the way that they approached that game today. They could have very easily come out dejected and not given a battle... I hope that they're tremendously proud of themselves, because they should be and the whole country should be as well."
The win also has implications for Team USA, who now sits at 4-4, fifth in the overall standings. If the U.S. defeats Sweden Wednesday morning and Switzerland defeats Japan, the U.S. and Japan will play in a tiebreak game for the final semifinal spot. The final round robin games will be played Wednesday at 6:05 a.m. EST.
CAN 0 2 1 0 0 1 0 0 1 0 - 5
GBR 1 0 0 1 0 0 0 2 0 2 - 6
Other scores from the night:
Sweden 8, China 4
China was one of several teams needing wins to stay in semifinal contention. Unfortunately for Wang Bingyu's squad, they would have to face one of the best teams in the tournament to do it.
Sweden never trailed China, and led by as many as five on the way to an 8-4 victory.
Leading 5-3 in the eighth, Sweden lied three in the house. China landed on the button with their final throw, but Swedish skip Anna Hasselborg had a perfect knockout to score those three and extend their lead to five with two ends to play.
China couldn't concede though. They came into the game with a 4-4 record, tied with the U.S. for fifth, and still with a slim chance of making the top four and staying in medal contention. They helped their cause with a single in the ninth, and lied three late in the 10th with a chance to tie and and force extra ends.
But Sweden knocked out one of China's stones on the second to last throw, forcing BingYu and company to finally accept defeat.
Sweden shot 92 percent on takeout attempts, picking up 60 takeouts in all. China had just 23 takeouts, shooting 84 percent.
The win automatically puts Sweden in the semifinals. They improve to 5-2 overall, with one game against the U.S. remaining.
China falls to 4-5, and finishes their round robin slate, and likely their tournament.
SWE 0 2 1 0 2 0 0 3 0 X - 8
CHN 0 0 0 1 0 2 0 0 1 X - 4
Korea 11, Team OAR 2
Team OAR scored one point in the sixth end, but conceded anyway. The women conceded defeat after falling behind to Korea 11-2 in both team's penultimate round robin game.
The nine point win is tied for the largest margin of victory in the PyeongChang women's tournament, and is just the fouth time a team has scored 11 or more points.
Korea scored three points in each of the first three ends, putting in OAR in such a big hole the rest of the ends were basically just a rush to the finish. OAR finally got on the board with a single point in the fourth, but Korea answered to extend their lead with two points in the fifth, needing just a an easy throw onto the button for another multi-point end.
Korean skip EunJung Kim was basically perfect the entire six ends, throwing a 98 percent shot success rate.Third thrower KyeongAe Kim threw 90 percent and lead YeongMi Kim threw 96.
Korean improved their team shot success rate to 78 percent in the tournament.
OAR skip Victoria Moiseeva and third Julia Portunova both shot 58 percent on the night. OAR falls to 2-6 in round robin play. They'll finish their PyeongChang games Wednesdya morning against Canada.
Korea remains at the top of the standings, now sitting at 7-1. They've already clinched the top spot in the semifinals. They'll finish round robin play Wednesday morning against Denmark.
KOR 3 3 3 0 2 0 X X X X - 11
OAR 0 0 0 1 0 1 X X X X - 2
Switzerland 6, Denmark 4
Switzerland has had a disappointing tournament in PyeongChang, but they got a good victory to Tuesday night in their second to last game, defeating Denmark 6-4.
Denmark blanked two straight ends in the second and third, and skip Madeleine Dupont was able to float her hammer throw in the fourth right onto the button for two.
But Switzerland responded with three in the fifth, and carried that lead the rest of the way.
Both teams were eliminated from semifinal contention prior to the game. Switzerland improves to 3-5 with a game against Japan remaining. Denmark falls to 1-7, with one game against Korea.
SUI 1 0 0 0 3 0 1 0 1 X - 6
DEN 0 0 0 2 0 1 0 1 0 X - 4