Chelsea Carey has her first win of the world women’s curling championship.
The Calgary skip scored four in the fifth end en route to an 8-5 win over Germany’s Daniela Jentsch on Sunday. Canada opened the competition with a 7-6 loss to Korea on Saturday night.
“It was huge to go out there and get some confidence,” said vice-skip Sarah Wilkes. “It’s massive for our team; to get out there and have an idea of what the ice is doing and be a little more comfortable out there, less stressed, it’s definitely huge for our confidence.
“It’s a huge relief. Being at our first women’s worlds for the three of us (Wilkes, second Dana Ferguson and lead Rachel Brown) and getting that first win for Canada, it felt really great.”
Canada trailed 2-1 through four ends after the Germans registered a steal of one when Carey was wide with her last-rock tap attempt. But the Canadians dominated the fifth with eight perfectly executed shots, the last being Carey’s wide-open hit for four after Jentsch’s last-rock freeze attempt bounced into the open.
“We were due for eight (made shots),” said Carey with a smile. “When you make eight shots, good things happen, especially when you have the hammer.
“That was a big turning point in the game, obviously.”
And effectively erased any lingering disappointment from the Saturday night loss.
“Losing the first game isn’t that big of a deal as long as you respond properly,” said Carey. “You’re going to lose games this week; nobody will go undefeated.
“But you want to try to not lose two in a row at any point. We were just a little bit off (against Korea), so we wanted to come out today and be just that tiny bit better. The first half, we weren’t quite there, but in the second half we got the communication going, we started reading the ice a little better and everything just got tighter, more precise, and that’s what we needed.”
Korea’s Minji Kim scored three in the ninth end to edge Carey 7-6 on Saturday.
It was the first game of the tournament for both rinks.
Korea opened the scoring with a single in the third end before Carey countered with two in the fourth. The Koreans went ahead 3-2 with a pair in the fifth end but the Calgary skip countered with two in the sixth for the 4-3 advantage.
Kim tied the score 4-4 with a single in the seventh before the Canadians counted two again in the eighth for the 6-4 advantage. But the Koreans responded with three in the ninth end.
Carey is attempting to give Canada a rare three-peat at the women’s world curling championship. The country is chasing a third straight tournament title after unbeaten runs by Winnipeg’s Jennifer Jones last year and Ottawa’s Rachel Homan in 2017.
It’s Carey second appearance at the competition and the first for Wilkes, Ferguson and Brown. Carey settled for a fourth-place finish in 2016 at Swift Current, Sask.
“I can’t put into words what an honour it is to wear the Maple Leaf,” Carey said. “It’s the best and most humbling, incredible experience I’ve ever had in my life. I can’t believe I’m lucky enough to get to do it again. I’m just beyond words.”
Kim, who won World Cup gold in Sweden last month, is making her women’s worlds debut after four straight appearances at the world junior championships. Carey will face Germany’s Daniela Jentsch and Latvia’s Iveta Stasa-Sarsune on Sunday.
Joining Carey as event headliners are Olympic champion Anna Hasselborg of Sweden, American Jamie Sinclair and Switzerland’s Silvana Tirinzoni.
Rounding out the field are China’s Rui Wang, Denmark’s Madeleine Dupont, Finland’s Oona Kauste, Japan’s Seina Nakajima, Russia’s Alina Kovaleva and Scotland’s Sophie Jackson.
Canada’s last extended golden run at the women’s world championship was a four-year streak in the mid-1980s.
Connie Laliberte won the 1984 title in Perth, Scotland, and Linda Moore followed with gold the next year in Jonkoping, Sweden. Marilyn Bodogh won in 1986 in Kelowna, B.C., and Pat Sanders took the 1987 crown in Chicago.
Round-robin play continues through March 22 at the 700-seat Silkeborg Sportscenter.
The top six teams will make the playoffs, with the top two seeds earning semi-final berths. The third-place team will play the No. 6 seed in one quarter-final and the No. 4 and No. 5 teams will meet in the other.
Semi-final winners will play for the gold on March 24 and the semi-final losers will play for bronze earlier in the day.
Carey teamed with Amy Nixon, Jocelyn Peterman and Laine Peters in 2016. Both Homan and Jones ran the table over their wins so Carey’s 9-8 loss to Russia’s Anna Sidorova in the 2016 bronze-medal game was Canada’s last defeat at this competition.
The Calgary skip feels more prepared for the experience this time around.
“Your first one is just your first one,” Carey said on a recent conference call. “It doesn’t matter how many people you talk to. I don’t think I could have done anything different for my first world championship. But now having been through it once, it’s different.
“It’s no different than my second Scotties. Once you go through it once, you kind of have a different level of expectation.”
Her current lineup is ranked sixth in the world. Jill Officer is serving as a team alternate and the coaching staff includes Dan Carey and Elaine Dagg-Jackson.
Canada leads all countries with 17 gold medals since the women’s world championship was first held in 1979. Sweden is next with eight titles.
Kevin Koe will represent Canada at the March 30-April 7 world men’s championship in Lethbridge, Alta. Brad Gushue won silver for Canada last year in Las Vegas.
The next world women’s championship will take place March 14-22, 2020, in Prince George, B.C.