SAINT JOHN, N.B. - Oops.
Let’s call that a Swiss miss.
After another uncomfortably-comfortable win in the morning draw over the Czech Republic, Rachel Homan’s Team Canada took it on the chin Sunday night at the World Women’s Curling Championship at Harbour Station, losing 8-2 in eight ends to Binia Feltscher’s Swiss crew.
It was a classic example of how curling statistics are a moving target. Despite out-curling her first two opponents — Russia and the Czechs — by a wide margin, both games were closer on the board than anticipated.
And Sunday, it wasn’t as much about how many shots were made, it was more about the few they missed, and the few more that Feltscher, in particular, made. Canada outscored the Swiss on the percentage board 82-75, but that doesn’t get you a win.
Homan and her Ottawa crew of lead Lisa Weagle, second Alison Kreviazuk and third Emma Miskew seemed resigned to their fate by the seventh end when a long raise resulted in yet another steal for the Swiss and put the team down 7-2, territory uncharted for this unit that rolled through the Montreal Scotties unbeaten — where Homan never threw her last rock, and rarely played a 10th end.
After the morning win over Anna Kubeskova’s young Prague foursome, Homan was reserved, saying, “Two (wins) is nothing in a week-long competition. We just have to keep winning our next games. It’s all about being patient out there.”
Perhaps she will really need to heed her own advice after tossing a stinker Sunday.
“We really didn’t play our game, as you probably noticed,” she matter-of-factly said.
“We can’t play worse, so that is good. We know our weights and things. We are just going to recover for (Monday) — we need to play much better than that.”
Swiss third Irene Schori could hardly disguise her Flims-based team’s exhilaration with the result.
“We are very excited. It’s amazing to win against Canada,” said the ever-smiling commercial clerk.
“Maybe the key shot (was) Binia’s in the fifth. That was the turnaround.”
Down 2-1, Feltscher tactfully pushed back a Canadian counter for a delicate triple and a 4-2 lead heading into the break and the Europeans never looked back.
Homan’s team chased the game from that point and every time they were in position to get back in it, Feltscher had an answer.
“We had to do our best curling, and we did,” said Schori.
The loss drops Canada to 2-1 and tied for third place, one win off the lead, with co-favoured Sweden, who were dumped by the Russians in the afternoon draw. Anna Sidorova’s two wins for Russia Sunday have her at 2-1 as well, along with Ji-Sun Kim’s Koreans.
It’s the Swiss, now 3-0, who share top rung with St. Paul, Minn.’s Allison Pottinger, who is also unbeaten in three draws and has been rolling up the points. Pottinger, who was born in Brampton, Ont., stomped the Danes 13-2 in six ends Sunday night.
Canada is on the ice twice on St. Paddy’s Day. The home team will have the morning off before taking on Madeleine Dupont’s Team Denmark, then returns to the ice for the evening draw against Pottinger’s Americans.
That will be an important head-to-head match-up should tie-breakers come into play at the end of the week for the teams.
STARS ON HAND
Sunday night was a showcase of Canadian male curlers from a past generation. Al Moore, hubby of TSN voice Linda, is on the coaching staff of the Swiss crew and obviously had his homework done. Meanwhile, Earle Morris, coach of Team Homan, received a standing ovation from the Harbour Station faithful when he came out for a timeout in the seventh. It prompted smiles. After that, Morris told Homan, “I’d better be able to help you now after that.” It also prompted the Canadian Curling Association official Twitter feed to ask Brier runner-up and Earle’s son, John, how it felt to be the second-most popular curling Morris in the country. Ouch.