The story on day 3 of the women’s competition in Pyeongchang was the continued struggles by the reigning world champions from Canada who fell to 0-3 following a loss to Denmark. The most worrisome aspect of the start by Team Canada is that they still seem to be struggling with reading the ice three games into the round-robin. Canada started well against Denmark scoring two in the 2nd end but Denmark responded with three points of their own in the 3rd. The changes of momentum in this game were striking, Denmark stole a single point in the 4th in an end where it became apparent that the Canadian team did not trust the ice. Team Homan then took advantage of a key miss by the Danes in the 5th end to score a four-ender that had many on social media thinking it could be the turning point for the Canadian women in this game and in the competition. There was “controversy” in the 5th end when Denmark burned a rock and Team Homan decided to remove it from play. Typically when this happens, the rock is simply moved to where the non-offending team believes the rock would have stopped but, it was Team Homan’s right to remove it.
Denmark fought back in the second half of the game to tie the score 8-8 and force an extra-end. The Canadians were left with a hit to win the game in the extra-end but Canada’s last rock clipped a guard and Denmark stole one point for the victory.
After the game, Denmark’s skip Madeleine Dupont spoke about the final rock of the game and the pressure of the Olympics:
“I’ve seen her play lots and played against her many times and I never expected her to miss it. But it’s the Olympics and you have to make every rock and it’s nerve-wracking to be 0-2 and facing 0-3 so anyone can miss it. You can feel that they’re not their usual ‘them’. They’re just different because they can feel this pressure, which we don’t have.”
In other women’s action, Korea defeated Switzerland 7-5 and Sweden defeated the OAR 5-4. Japan and Sweden are tied atop the standings at 3-0, Great Britain and Korea are at 2-1 with five countries tied at 1-2 and Canada at 0-3.
In the men’s competition, Canada and Sweden remained undefeated heading into their key round-robin matchup on Saturday. Canada won its fourth straight game by defeating Korea 7-6 in a game where Canada showed its best form of the week. The Koreans dropped to a disappointing 0-4 at an event where they seem to be feeling the pressure of performing in front of their home crowd. After the game, Kevin Koe talked about his team’s performance to this point in the competition:
“We’re playing pretty well. I thought that was our best game yet and getting better. That’s where we want to be; we’re not quite halfway and I feel we’re improving and that’s a good sign. We definitely haven’t peaked yet. We’ve got a bit more to go but we’re going in the right direction.”
The Swedes kept pace with the Canadians by defeating the U.S. 10-4 and Great Britain 8-6 which sets up a battle of undefeated teams against Canada in their next game. Niklas Edin, the skip of Team Sweden, talked about their game against Great Britain which was a bit more of a grind for the Swedes than their first three games:
“The first three games, really close to perfect, we played solid; we worked as a team we had great communication. I think this game we looked a little tired. They had a really good start, and we didn’t. The first half I think they outplayed us and we were a bit lucky to stay in the game, still have a chance. Then in the 6th end, we got 3 and the whole momentum changed.”
Meanwhile, Denmark’s women’s team were not alone in earning their first victory of the Olympics as Rasmus Stjerne and the men’s team also won their first game, defeating the upstart Italians by a score of 6-4.
Sweden and Canada are tied atop the men’s standings at 4-0 with Great Britain, Italy, Switzerland and the United States tied for 3rd at 2-2. Japan and Norway are at 1-2 while Denmark is at 1-3 followed by the Koreans at 0-4.