“It was a really close game, and obviously if we could have replayed that game there were a couple of crucial stones that could have swung the game the other way."
Following the first two days of play at the World Wheelchair Curling Championships in Sochi, Russia, Canada lead the pack with three victories, followed closely by Sweden and USA, which also remain undefeated with two victories apiece.
There was only one session of play at the Championships on Sunday (17 February), as problems with the ice cooling plant forced the postponement of the afternoon games.
In session three, reigning world champions Russia took on Canada. It was a very tight game, with the Russians leading 4-3 after five ends.
In the sixth end, Canadian skip Jim Armstrong, managed a draw around a wall of guards to score three and set his team on its way to an 8-5 win.
Russian third and vice-skip Marat Romanov admitted after the game that giving up three hit his team mentally and it was hard for them to recover. He also put the result down to experience. As he pointed out to the Russian media gathered at the Ice Cube Curling Centre, 62-year-old Armstrong has been curling for 45 years.
Meanwhile, wheelchair curling only started in Russia a decade ago.
Another tight game was between Scotland and Sweden which went all the way to the last stone of the eighth end. Swedish Skip Jalle Jungnell made a perfect double take out to score one and win the game 5-3.
Scottish skip Aileen Neilson, the only female skip in the field, said afterwards: “It was a really close game, and obviously if we could have replayed that game there were a couple of crucial stones that could have swung the game the other way. We made Jalle play a tough shot and he played a great shot with his last. But it is tough for us to be second on that one.”
The USA secured their second win in the tournament, defeating Norway. The game pivoted in the fourth end. US skip Patrick McDonald put his last stone right on the button. The pressure was too much for Norwegian skip Rune Lorentsen who missed with his last stone and the Americans stole four points. They won the game 10-2.
In the game between Slovakia and Finland, Radoslav Duris’ Slovak side took five points in the sixth end after Finland’s fourth player Markku Karjalainen missed a freeze. The Slovaks won 9-3.
Following the round robin stages, playoff games will begin on Friday (22 February), with the bronze and gold-medal games schedule for Saturday.
Qualification points for the Sochi 2014 Paralympic Winter Games will be awarded at the end of the Championships.
Standings after three round robin sessions:
1. Canada 3-0
2. Sweden 2-0
2. USA 2-0
4. Norway 1-1
4. Slovakia 1-1
6. Finland 1-2
6. Russia 1-2
6. Scotland 1-2
9. China 0-2
9. Korea 0-2