March 22, 2012
Swedes deliver that 1-2 punch
By CON GRIWKOWSKY, QMI Agency
LETHBRIDGE, ALTA. - Margaretha Sigfridsson and her Swedish crew are confident heading into the playoff round of the women's world curling championship.
The defending champions are set to face Switzerland in the 1-2 Page game.
"We had a great feeling this game," Sigfridsson said after dispatching Denmark 7-2 in Thursday's afternoon draw. "We've played well throughout the week -- a few games better and a few games worse -- but this was one of the best feelings on the ice."
Anette Norberg brought the title home for Sweden in 2011, but Sigfridsson was chosen to come to southern Alberta because of her superior record throughout the season.
"It feels really good and now we should just reload for the playoffs," Sigfridsson said. "We just need to keep on focusing and play our best. Consequently, at the moment, the girls look just great on the ice. No major changes, just play our best."
It seems Sigfridsson has turned up her game a notch, taking a more aggressive approach on the final round-robin day.
"It's the kind of game we enjoy, that's curling," said Sigfridsson, who throws lead rocks. "We have four really good players. Our confidence is very high. We're very happy to be able to handle the situation at the worlds. We needed to play well and we've done that."
Korean skip Ji-Sun Kim delivered a historic first playoff spot for her nation with an afternoon win over Russia. The 7-3 victory gave Korea an 8-3 record, good enough for a spot in the 3-4 game. Korea had a combined five wins in its three previous worlds appearances.
"It's very exciting," Kim said. "Unbelievable. I'm very nervous.
After losing in the morning to Switzerland, Kim said, "I wanted very much to win, so mentally we came out better. We won and now I'm very happy."
It means little to Kim that Korea will be host of the 2018 Winter Olympics. She has her eyes set on a closer event.
"It was one of our goals to make the playoffs," Kim said. "Korea can now see we have a much better team. I want to go to the Sochi Olympics in 2014. I think this team is ready."
Switzerland's Mirjam Ott kept her hopes alive with her must-win morning game against Korea.
"We had quite a bit of pressure," said Ott, whose team improved to 8-3 after the round-robin. "It was an important game for us. The first and middle part, we didn't play that good, but we needed to keep the game close because the win was important."
By the numbers, Switzerland and the U.S. have posted the top percentages. The U.S. ended the round-robin 7-4, tied with Canada. The two teams now face each other in a tiebreaker on Friday.
Playoffs or not, U.S. skip Allison Pottinger can go home with a sense of accomplishment after starting 0-4,
"The girls are working so hard," said Pottinger, who was born in Brampton, Ont. "We played our game. We tried to be loose before every game.
"We can't go back and change (the slow start). I'd love to change it. We've just got to keep going forward and keep digging."
Pottinger had to come from a long way back before getting in the groove.
"We just wanted to represent the U.S. well," Pottinger said. "It's very cool. We're enjoying it and I think our fans are enjoying it. It's not destiny or anything like that."