Canada is off to women's curling final
Jones wins heartstopping extra-end battle with Japan
Jennifer Jones stole one in the 11th to complete a comeback from three down and win the semifinal at the women's world curling championships in Vernon, B.C.
Tied 8-8 with Japan's Moe Meguro, Jones missed her own final rock that added a second high guard outside the top of the house.
But Meguro, trying to come wide in from the left to get behind a Canadian stone, instead saw it over curl and fall short.
With the 9-8 victory, Canada moves on to play China on Sunday in the final.
"It was a great win, and I'm very excited," said Jones. "We're determined, and we never give up. I think it shows a lot of character. I'm very proud of us.
"We're just very, very proud to be Canadian right now."
The win gives Canada a chance to win its first championship as the home team since 1996, when Marilyn Bodogh captured the title in Hamilton.
Japan fails to capitalize
Meguro, 23, and her young rink had two shots at winning the semifinal in the extra end.
On the first rock, the skip needed to tap her own stone and finesse it to the button. But the rock hit too hard and sent her own yellow too far into the eight foot at the back.
That was the first missed chance.
Meguro said her team was soundly outplayed against Canada in the latter stages of the game.
"We had a very good game," said Meguro. "[Late in the game] the Canadian team played very well, and we couldn't finish."
Jones attempted a difficult shot that came up short and left her with a second high guard. So back came Meguro with the final rock of the end that the southpaw sent out into fresh ice on the right, hoping to bring it back in towards the button.
No luck. Instead it over curled, came up short and Canada had the comeback victory.
Canada claws back
Down 6-3 after six ends, Jones and her rink of lead Dawn Askin, second Jill Officer and third Cathy Overton-Clapham had a chance for three in the seventh to tie the game up but just grazed one of her own rocks outside the top of the house and settled for two.
Japan came right back for a pair of its own in the eighth and Jones found two in the ninth to bring Canada into the final end down one at 8-7.
That 10th end should have been a winner for Japan after third Mari Motohashi's brilliant shot dumped three Canadian stones from the house.
But with only an easy double take out for the win, Meguro threw one too wide that took out Jones's stop stone but left her other one sitting for a steal of one and it was 8-8.
Jones said she felt for Meguro.
"There were so many great shots," said Jones. "We didn't win on a miss, I thought we won on some great shots. It's unfortunate that she missed her last one, because that's not the way that game went.
"She had to make a tough one to win."
The inability to close would come back to haunt the Japanese skip in the extra end.
Japan went on to face Switzerland's Mirjam Ott in Saturday night's bronze-medal game — falling by a score of 9-7. It was a measure of revenge for Switzerland, which was eliminted from playoff contention by Japan in their Page playoff showdown on Friday.
Despite the losses on Saturday, the tournament has to be considered a success for Meguro and her teammates. Japan advanced to just its second bronze-medal game all-time, also having lost 7-6 to Denmark in the third-place game 11 years ago in Bern, Switzerland.
With files from the Canadian Press