Bernard settles for silver in women's curling
Canadians fall 7-6 against Olympic defending champion Sweden
The game appeared to be over.
Not once, but twice.
Cheryl Bernard and her Calgary-based rink of Carolyn Darbyshire, Cori Bartel and Susan O'Connor fell two shots short of striking gold in Vancouver on Friday.
The Canadians couldn't knock off the defending champion Swedish rink of Anette Norberg, Eva Lund, Cathrine Lindahl and Anna Le Moine, taking the silver medal in a 7-6 extra-end loss that hinged on Bernard's last rock in the final two ends.
After steals in the sixth and seventh ends put the Canadians on top 6-4 heading into the 10th end, Bernard couldn't extinguish the Swedish hopes of a repeat gold as her last rock failed to knock Norberg's second-last stone out of the house.
The Swedes took that break and scored a pair — giving them new life and another end, although surrendering the hammer to Canada.
"I threw good in the 10th end and it didn't come up, so you know the girls were great — let's go — we'll get them in the extra end," Bernard said. "Same thing — we were on it and I mean — I rubbed it. I missed it and it was so close. It will be one of those shots that I won't forget."
As Norberg lined up her last shot in the 11th, the Canadian shot stone was covered by a Swedish rock in the four foot. The Swedish skip bumped her own stone to eliminate the Canadian presence in the house and rolled her shooter behind a guard.
Bernard's attempt at the double came up short, allowing the steal, and the gold medal along with it.
"I had two chances to win that game and my team gave them to me in 10 and 11, couldn't ask for any more," Bernard said. "That's kind of it.
"Eventually this silver's going to feel really great. Just right now, the gold was very close."
The second-place finish follows the bronze won by Canada's Shannon Kleibrink and her rink in Turin, Italy, in 2006.
Canada beat the Swedes 6-2 in their round-robin match on Monday, but Bernard said afterward that Norberg's performance was an aberration, and expected a much more focused and tough game from Sweden in the final.
Bernard got all that and more from the defending champion, who stole her second straight Olympic gold final.
"I can't believe it yet," said Lindahl, Sweden's second. "It felt like an easy shot for her and we just said, 'Oh a silver medal is good anyway,' and then we got the gold. It's unbelievable."
Canadians miss on early chance
After blanking the first end, Bernard brought the hammer into the second, but couldn't capitalize on a mistake by Norberg on the Swedish skip's final shot.
Bernard eclipsed a Swedish stone biting the four-foot with an angle freeze to lie one before Norberg's final rock crashed in front of the house, setting up a chance for Bernard to take a pair.
Despite the best efforts of sweepers Darbyshire and Bartel, their skip's draw to the four-foot was light and Canada headed into the third end with a 1-0 lead.
Norberg did not falter on her first chance with last rock advantage, scoring a pair to lead 2-1 into the fourth end.
Bernard was in tough as she stepped into the hack for the first of her fourth end stones, eyeing a house that had Sweden sitting two. The Canadian skip threw a flawless draw shot that her sweepers hardly had to touch, sitting on the back edge of the four-foot for shot rock.
Norberg replied with a perfect throw of her own to take out the Canadian shot stone, forcing Bernard to repeat her draw into the four- foot and escape with the single and a 2-2 tie.
A great hit and roll shot by O'Connor averted another Swedish-dominated house in the fifth, hoping to limit Norberg to a single.
Bernard's final shot in the fifth tapped the Swedish stone on the button back about two inches, but not enough to take shot stone. That set up a draw to the button by Norberg, who tapped her second stone in the process but not enough to allow Canada to unseat the double.
Swedes pick up another pair
A measurement verified Sweden's two-point gain and Canada got the hammer back facing a 4-2 deficit in the sixth, but it didn't get any easier, even with last shot.
Lund had her rink lying three after a double takeout, and made Bernard put the first of her skip stones over the button to take shot.
Norberg's final shot in six ran that red Canadian stone out of the house, leaving Bernard with a view of four Swedish stones occupying the house as she drew to the four-foot for the single.
Without the hammer and trailing 4-3 in the seventh end, Bernard was still able to put pressure on Norberg, forcing the Swedish skip to shoot against a crowd of three Canadian rocks.
Norberg's first shot narrowly hit one of the Canadian stones to take shot stone, but it was quickly dispatched by Bernard, whose tap back had Canada lying two. The draw from Norberg was light, allowing the Canadians to leapfrog to a 5-4 lead.
A blank in eight kept the hammer in Sweden's hands into the ninth end, but a crash on the guard on Lund's final third stone had the Canadians in good position to make Sweden take a single.
Norberg would have been happier with the single than the steal she gave up on the attempted hit and roll, but everything seemed to work out with the missed opportunity in the 10th end.
with files from the Canadian Press