Sports Curling

A new queen will be crowned

By Aaron Wilgosh, The Graphic

Agnes Knochenhauer and Sofia Mabergs sweep while Anna Hasselborg instructs during play Monday afternoon at the Portage Curling Club. (Aaron Wilgosh/The Graphic)

Agnes Knochenhauer and Sofia Mabergs sweep while Anna Hasselborg instructs during play Monday afternoon at the Portage Curling Club. (Aaron Wilgosh/The Graphic)

After four days of curling, it's down to just two.

Sweden's Anna Hasselborg and American Nina Roth will face off for the grand prize at the Canad Inns Women's Curling Classic Monday evening at the Portage Curling Club in Portage la Prairie.

“We didn't execute until the end of our semifinal match, and we got lucky with a miss from our opponent that set up the 3-point eighth end to force extras,” says Roth, when discussing her 6-4 comeback win over Edmonton's Kelsey Roque, who was undefeated until the semifinal defeat. “We didn't play our best at the start of the match but we really came together at the end to win it.”

Hasselborg and Rocque were the first two teams to qualify for Monday’s playoff round. Both rinks went undefeated through the first three days of play. Hasselborg knocked off Winnipegger Michelle Englot 7-3 in seven ends while Rocque took down Kerri Einarson’s Winnipeg rink 6-5 in eight to punch their respective tickets to Monday morning's quarter finals. 

Roth and Sherri Middaugh from Coldwater, Ont., were the next to qualify in the B event. Einarson suffered her second loss of the bonspiel to Roth, while Middaugh handed Olympic gold medallist Jennifer Jones her second loss of the tournament in the other. 

The final four qualifiers slid into the playoffs Sunday evening in the C Event. Albertan Chelsea Carey beat Amber Holland’s Saskatchewan rink 8-1 in three ends to book her spot. Einarson managed to finally book her spot in the finals in the C qualifier. She beat Scotland’s Eve Muirhead 9-6 in eight ends. Jones found her way into the playoff round by taking out China's Bingyu Wang 9-7 in eight ends, despite trailing 6-3 heading into the sixth end. The final qualifier was American Cory Christensen, who managed to knock off Winnipegger Shannon Birchard 7-6 in eight.

Hasselborg and Rocque's undefeated streaks continued all the way to the semifinal. Einarsaon also won her quarterfinal match, along with Roth – who beat Jennifer Jones – to punch her ticket to the semis. Roth then took out Roque 6-4 while Hasselborg advanced with a win over Einarson to set up the final.

“The girls have been playing great, we love the ice and the arena, and we're happy to be playing in the final,” says Hasselborg, who's playing in her second straight Classic. “We lost in the semis last year to (Rachel) Homan, and we plan to improve upon that.”

Defending champion Homan's rink was not among the field of 32 teams vying for the 2017 title.



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