The marquee curling matchup in Korea on Saturday was a battle between the co-favourites in the men’s event who both entered with 4-0 records. The consensus heading into the game between Canada and Sweden was that both teams were playing well, but that Sweden had shown better form over the first few days of action. To nobody’s surprise, neither team missed many shots over the first half of the game that ended 2-2 with Canada scoring their points in the 2nd and Sweden responding in the 5th when Kevin Koe just missed a double takeout with his last rock. The game turned in favour of the Swedes in the 6th end when they had two rocks on or near the button behind cover and Canada was unable to remove either of them with their last rock allowing a steal of two points. Sweden went on to win the game 5-2 led by skip Niklas Edin who 99% for the game in what could be a preview of the gold medal game.
After the game, Edin spoke about the importance of his team’s win over Canada: “That was a special one for sure, both the way we turned that game around and the importance of it. Now we’re in the position where we can win the round-robin and that would make us have the hammer in the play-offs and that’s huge. That’s the way you have to win these Olympic Games. Now I think we’re in the front seat and the other teams have to up their performance to come back to us.”
In other men’s action, Switzerland won the other Top 10 matchup of the evening by a score of 7-5 over Norway, Korea won their first game of the Olympics by defeating Great Britain 11-5 and Italy lost 6-5 to Japan.
When last they were seen on the ice, the Canadian women’s team had just lost their third consecutive game and were embroiled in a controversy over the removal of a burnt rock. What followed was curling’s version of a Twitter explosion and a team meeting that will long live in the folklore of Canadian curling if Team Homan were to win a medal at these Olympics. Less than 48 hours after their shocking loss to Denmark, Canada was back on the ice for a game against the United States. The Canadians got off to an early lead when some early misses by American skip Nina Roth led to a steal of three in the first end. Canada took full control of the game in the 5th end when they scored three points for a 7-2 lead on their way to an 11-3 win. The good news for Canadian curling fans is that each member of Team Homan played very well in the game against the U.S., especially Rachel Homan who made several precise hits and was perfect on her two draws during the game. The sobering news for Canadian fans is that Team Homan finds itself at 1-3 with little room for error left in their remaining round-robin games.
Sweden remains undefeated and atop the standings following their 8-7 win over Switzerland on Saturday. They are followed by the Japanese who are 4-1 after splitting their two games on Saturday, losing 7-6 to China and defeating the OAR 10-5. The Koreans continued to thrill the home crowd by defeating Great Britain 7-4 to move their record to 3-1. China bounced back nicely from a slow start in the competition winning their games against Japan and Denmark on Saturday. The Chinese are tied at 3-2 with Great Britain who split their games, defeating Denmark and losing to Korea. There are four teams with a sole victory so far in the competition and Canada is the only one to have won a game on Saturday as Switzerland, Denmark and the OAR finished a combined 0-5 for the day.