27 Aug 2015 – Canada 1 beat USA 5-4 in a thrilling final to win the gold medal in the Audi quattro Winter Games NZ 2015 Mixed Doubles Curling Tournament in Naseby, New Zealand today.
The USA took home the silver medal, and Finland won the bronze medal game 7-4 over Japan.
Canada’s Charley Thomas and Kalynn Park scored two in the opening end of the final, and after they stole the fourth end they went into the break with a handy 4-1 lead.
The young USA team of Sarah Anderson and Korey Dropkin played immaculately for the next three ends and as the final end started the scores were level at 4-4, but it was Canada who held the crucial last stone advantage.
The Canadians took their powerplay (positioning the stationary stones to the side) to keep the centre of the house clear, but the USA did everything possible to steal.
When Thomas came to play Canada’s second-to-last stone he faced an American stone in the centre of the house that appeared to be well guarded. He judged his hit perfectly, squeezing past the guard to clip a corner of the shot stone and send it into the side boards.
Anderson’s last draw for USA was just a fraction deep, so Kalynn Park just needed to follow it in to score the single the Canadians needed for the win and the gold medal.
Park was relieved after the teams came off the ice. “It was intense out there, a really great game,” she said. “I struggled a bit but Charley played really well, I was just relieved I made that final shot. And the USA team were great – they played really well all week and they certainly deserved to be in the final.”
Korey Dropkin was upbeat after the game, despite not winning the gold. “The week’s been great, we’ve enjoyed every second of this tournament,” he commented. “The other athletes have been awesome with us, we’ve just enjoyed the whole experience. And playing top teams at this level just helps us all improve our game and our future careers.”
Finland led Japan 2-0 after two ends of the bronze medal game, and after the sides traded threes the Finns maintained the margin to lead 5-3 at the fourth end break.
The key moment came in the fifth end when Japan held three well-guarded shots and tried to draw a fourth in. It just hung out a little wide, and left Finland a small opportunity. Katja Kiiskinen judged a tough hit and roll perfectly, with her stone spinning almost square to sit on the button nestled amongst the Japanese stones.
Kiiskinen and Pauli Jäämies stole that end and the next for Finland, and ran the Japanese couple Michiko and Kenji Tomabechi out of stones in the last end.
“Of course we would have liked to be in the final,” said Jäämies after the game, “but the USA played very well this morning and they deserved their win. This afternoon our hitting game was the best for us all week, and we also had good draw weight. So we’re very happy with our bronze.”
The semifinals were held earlier in the day. The Japanese side went into their semi against Canada 1 hoping to put the memory of yesterday’s one-sided 11-0 loss to the back of their minds, and today’s contest was much closer.
Japan were eyeing a second consecutive steal in the fourth end before an upweight hit from Thomas cleared two Japanese stones lying either side of the button. The scores were level at 5-5 after five ends, but Canada made the decisive break in the next with a score of three, and they eventually ran Japan out of stones in the last end to win 9-5.
USA broke open their semi-final against Finland in the fourth end when Sarah Anderson chipped out an opposition stone sitting as second shot, giving USA a score of four points. There was some outstanding shot-making from both sides but the Americans finished it off in style with a double takeout from Korey Dropkin, followed a couple of shots later by Anderson chipping a Finnish stone off the button to score another four and give the USA a 10-4 win.
|1||Canada 1||Kalynn Park & Charley Thomas|
|2||USA||Sarah Anderson & Korey Dropkin|
|3||Finland||Katya Kiiskinen & Pauli Jäämies|
|4||Japan||Michiko Tomabechi & Kenji Tomabechi|
|5||Canada 2||Kimberley Tuck & Wayne Tuck|
|6||New Zealand 2||Bridget Becker & Sean Becker|
|7||New Zealand 1||Eleanor Adviento & Brett Sargon|
|8||Australia 2||Jennifer Westhagen & Matt Panoussi|
|9||Australia 1||Sandy Gagnon & Ian Gagnon|
|10||Korea||Hyein Lee & Jong Chul Baek|
|11||China||Fan Suyuan & Lu Feijiaking|
|12||Czech Republic||Jana Jelinkova & Ondrej Mihola|