Canada's Einarson tops Scotland in extras to keep playoff hopes alive at curling worlds

Canada's Kerri Einarson kept chipping away at her women's world curling championship deficit with a third straight win Tuesday in Calgary.

Canadian rink picks up 3rd straight victory; broadcast schedule still in doubt

Canada skip Kerri Einarson directs her teammates during Tuesday morning's 10-4 rout of Italy at the women's world curling championship in Calgary. (Jeff McIntosh/Canadian Press)

Canada's Kerri Einarson kept chipping away at her women's world curling championship deficit with a third straight win Tuesday in Calgary.

The host country downed Scotland 6-5 in an extra end to get to a 4-5 record, but Einarson's Manitoba foursome still faces a battle to be among Friday's six teams advancing to the qualification round.

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"We're still kicking," the Canadian skip said. "Our backs are against the wall and we've got to keep pushing and giving it our all out there because we can't lose.

"We've got to keep going, fighting and doing everything it takes to win our games."

Einarson went 1-5 to start the women's championship before beating South Korea, Italy and the Scots.

"We've just continued to climb back to where we want to be," Canadian second Shannon Birchard said.

"We had some dark days, but I think sticking together as a unit, as a family here in the bubble helped us get out of it. Now we're ready for the last few and ready to push on."

Russia topped the table at 8-0 ahead of Switzerland at 7-1, Sweden at 6-1 and the United States at 6-3. Scotland fell to 5-3 followed by China (4-4), Canada (4-5) and Denmark (3-4).

Canada faces Estonia (1-7) on Wednesday and finishes the preliminary round versus Denmark and Japan (2-5) on Thursday and China on Friday.

Clutch 8th end

Trailing the Scots 3-2, Einarson stole three points in the eighth end on the strength of her delicate tap to lie four with her final stone.

The skip missed a peel in the rings for the win in the 10th, however, and had to go the extra end to claim victory. She didn't miss another peel and removed Scots' shot stone for the win in the 11th.

"We desperately needed it," Einarson said.

A Canadian comeback in the world championship will be witnessed by few.

Television and streaming broadcasts suspended Sunday remain so until at least Thursday because seven members of the broadcast team tested positive for COVID-19.

Without spectators and now production staff in the building, the Markin MacPhail Centre feels even more like curling in a library for the Canadians.

"It's even more quiet now," Einarson said. "You don't have those extra people around. We miss them. We hope they come back."

The top six countries Friday advance to the qualification round with the top two countries earning byes to the semifinals. The third to sixth seeds square off to determine the other two semifinalists.

The top six teams also qualify their countries in women's curling for the 2022 Winter Olympics in Beijing.

The rest of the Olympic field will be determined by an international qualifying tournament in December, which would be an awkward prospect for Curling Canada given the Olympic trials are in Saskatoon in November.

More tests needed to determine broadcast schedule

Broadcasts were suspended and the morning draw postponed Sunday when four TV staff tested positive for the coronavirus, and that number rose to seven Monday.

The rest of the broadcast crew continued to test negative, but more tests are needed to ensure a safe restart, the World Curling Federation said.

"The confirmation of this latest round of results, and additional work on contact tracing, allows the broadcast team and medical officials to progress to the next stage of discussions around a managed return to the competition with an adapted TV production setup," the WCF said Tuesday in a statement.

"The impacted individuals who have previously returned positive results will remain in isolation and continue to be medically managed by the competition medical officials with guidance from Alberta Health."

The women's championship was relocated from Switzerland in March to Calgary in May because Swiss health authorities refused to support the tournament in the face of a global pandemic.

The women's championship is the seventh and final curling event held with zero spectators and in a controlled environment in Calgary to prevent the spread of the virus.

Broadcast personnel aren't housed in the same hotel as the teams.

Two German players, however, remain in quarantine because they tested positive before the tournament began. The WCF gave Daniela Jentsch an exemption to compete with a three-player team.

Last month's men's championship was interrupted on the final weekend because of four positive COVID tests. The event made it to the finish line when it was determined those were "false positives."

The world mixed doubles championship in Aberdeen, Scotland, where Einarson and Brad Gushue will represent Canada, is May 17-23.

WATCH | Team Canada sizes up competition in Calgary:

Team Canada's Einarson, Sweeting and Nedohin break down the field at the world women's curling championship

1 year ago
Duration 50:00
The Canadian contingency joins That Curling Show to discuss their incredible success inside the bubble, the upcoming competition and how they're maintaining their focus.

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