Canada just outside playoff picture at women's curling worlds after loss to Japan

Kerri Einarson's five-game winning streak came to an end Thursday afternoon as Canada dropped a 7-5 decision to Japan's Sayaka Yoshimura at the world women's curling championship.

Kerri Einarson tied for 7th with final game to be played vs. China on Friday

Team Canada skip Kerri Einarson releases a stone during her 7-5 loss to Japan on Thursday at the women's curling world championship in Calgary. (Jeff McIntosh/The Canadian Press)

Mixed results Thursday have left Kerri Einarson's team in a precarious position entering the final day of round-robin competition at the world women's curling championship.

Einarson beat Denmark's Madeleine Dupont 10-8 in the morning session but her five-game winning streak ended in the afternoon when she dropped a 7-5 decision to Japan's Sayaka Yoshimura.

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Canada will take a 6-6 record into its Friday morning game against China's Yu Han, needing a victory to improve its chances of making the top-six cutline for weekend play.

"I don't even actually know what the standings are," Einarson said. "I know what we need to do and that's all matters."

Canada was sitting in a seventh-place tie with South Korea's EunJung Kim following the evening draw at WinSport's Markin MacPhail Centre.

Switzerland's Silvana Tirinzoni (10-1), Russia's Alina Kovaleva (10-2) and Sweden's Anna Hasselborg (8-3) have secured playoff spots.

Tabitha Peterson of the United States was in fourth place at 7-5 and Scotland's Eve Muirhead (6-5) was in a tie for fifth alongside Denmark (6-5).

Germany's Daniela Jentsch and China were next at 5-6.

Depending on Friday's early results, the Manitoba-based team of Einarson, Val Sweeting, Shannon Birchard and Briane Meilleur may not learn their playoff fate until late Friday night.

"It's the world championship, there's no easy games out there," Sweeting said. "No one is going to roll over and give you anything out there. But we've been fighting really hard and that's all that we can do.

"We've left everything out there."

Japan made a nice angle raise to score two in the eighth end for a 6-3 lead. Canada responded with a deuce in the ninth but Japan used hammer coming home to make a hit for the win.

"When they are making everything, it's quite hard," Einarson said. "They played really well and got us in some tough spots. I missed a couple of mine, which is unfortunate."

The top six teams in the 14-team field will also earn Olympic berths for their respective countries at the 2022 Beijing Games. A last-chance Olympic qualifier will be held in December.

In the morning game, Dupont opened with a three-point first end after Einarson was wide with a runback. Canada answered with a five-point end before Denmark reclaimed the lead with another three-ender in the third.

"The opposition is making great shots in front of us and making us make big ones," said Canada coach Heather Nedohin.

Einarson's highlight-reel angle-raise for a pair in the eighth end gave Canada a lead it wouldn't relinquish. Canada then stole a single and played a strong 10th end to force Dupont to concede before throwing her final stone.

TV coverage resumes Friday

The World Curling Federation announced that broadcast coverage will resume on Friday. It was stopped last weekend after seven members of the event's broadcast staff tested positive for COVID-19.

The broadcast crew is staying at a different hotel than the teams.

After other staffers provided another round of negative COVID-19 PCR test results Thursday, a proposal for a modified broadcast production plan was approved by Alberta Health, the WCF said.

Domestic rights-holder TSN will resume its coverage Friday morning with the Canada-China game. World Curling TV, which broadcasts the international feeds, will handle game production, the WCF said.

Medal games are set for Sunday. Canada is looking to return to the podium for the first time since Jennifer Jones won gold at the 2018 playdowns in North Bay, Ont.

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