In their journey as a team over the past few seasons , and in their preparation for major events such as the Scotties and the Olympic Trials , members of Team Homan often talked about ” sticking to the process ” and not worrying about the outcome . Well , Canada lost its first two games of the Olympics on Thursday in Korea and now face an uphill battle that will certainly test their process and their patience. Canada’s opening game against Korea came down to two missed shots by skip Rachel Homan that allowed the Koreans to steal a total of five points. The Koreans went on to win 8-6 in a game where Canada played well except for a few uncharacteristic misses by Homan . The second game did not start well for Canada as they gave up a steal of two points in the first end . The remainder of the game was a back and forth affair but the Canadians always seemed like they were one step behind Team Hasselborg . The Swedes never trailed in the game and scored a single point in an extra-end for the win . Team Homan’s mettle will be tested like never before in their upcoming games but, in a field with so much parity, they remain in the race to the playoffs.
The Japanese started the competition with the knowledge that the final four games of their round-robin schedule included four of the top teams in the world. Team Fujisawa has responded by winning their first three games of the event including Thursday’s victories over Denmark (8-5) and Korea (7-5) and sit atop the standings at 3-0.
The American team faced two of the top teams in the field on Thursday, defeating Great Britain 7-4 and losing to Switzerland by a score of 6-5. The victory over the U.S. was an important one for Team Tirinzoni of Switzerland after losing handily to the Chinese in the opening draw . Aside from Japan and Sweden, who moved to 2-0 with their victory over Canada, every other team in the field has at least one loss and there is a sense that the women’s standings will remain close until the end of the round-robin.
The co-favourites in the men’s event both remain undefeated but, while the Swedes won handily in both their games to start the competition , it has been a grind for Canada so far despite their 3-0 record. Team Koe was in trouble in their game against Norway but mistakes by Norwegian skip Thomas Ulsrud late in the game allowed Canada to steal a point in the 8th and two more points in the 9th for a 7-4 win.
Italy continued their surprising play in the Olympic competition, defeating the U.S.A 10-9 in a game where the Italians scored a five-ender in the 3rd end . The win moved Italy to 2-1 in the standings while the loss dropped the U.S. to 1-1 . The other men’s winners on Thursday afternoon were Switzerland and Great Britain .
After two days of competition , the biggest surprises have to be the early difficulties by Canada in the women’s event and the strong play by Italy in the men’s event . The curling action on Friday will include two men’s draws and one women’s draw .