SWIFT CURRENT, Sask. — Even after a massive 10-2 win, Amy Nixon needed a moment to calm down.
Nixon and her Canadian teammates remained undefeated at the women’s curling world championships after American skip Erika Brown conceded in six ends on Sunday night in a controversial fifth draw matchup.
Both teams had heated exchanges with officials in the third and fourth ends over two disputed hog-line violations by Nixon, who was throwing third for Canada. Nixon’s sensored rock — which blinks red when its handle isn’t released in time — indicated she had hogged her throw in both the third and fourth ends.
The Canadians claimed in both instances that the handle malfunctioned.
“It was not a pleasant feeling. It was a difficult situation,” said a terse Nixon, who added with a laugh. “I’m still trying to get over it, actually.”
Canada came out strong in the first end, with skip Chelsea Carey making a difficult shot to take out the Americans’ one rock for four points. Brown just barely made a draw to earn a single in the second end, to cut into Canada’s lead and make it 4-1.
Canada lost its fifth stone in the third end over the first disputed hog-line violation. Canada burned its own rock after the lights turned red following Nixon’s throw.
Her teammates kicked the rock aside because of the sensors, but Nixon argued that there was a handle malfunction and that her hand was clear of the handle before the hog line.
Brown and her rink pointed out that as the Canadians had burned their own stone, it couldn’t be re-thrown. Officials sided with the United States, pulling Canada’s rock.
“I’m not one to go over, but since we don’t have a jumbotron or a screen here it’s very difficult to know,” said Nixon, who had told officials during practice that her rock’s lights had been malfunctioning.
“The biggest thing about that is I just wish someone had been able to tell me on the replay if I was over or not because either you’re over and you accept it or you’re not and you start to ride the officials.
“To play in a world championship and be in that situation is, needless to say, not my favourite thing I’ve ever experienced.”
Carey missed a take out on the next throw, sailing her rock through the house without touching anything.
Canada recovered, though. Carey threw a raised double takeout, making it a 5-1 lead and bringing the largely Canadian crowd to their feet at the Credit Union iPlex.
Debate flared up again in the fourth end, as the same scenario played out: Nixon’s rock lit up red despite her hand releasing in time and Canada’s sweepers purposely burning the rock. This time, however, Canada was allowed to re-throw and officials ruled that the sensor lights would be ignored for the rest of the game.
“Technology’s great but, as far as I’m concerned, just give everybody handles without sensors in them and if you have a problem with the other team then call an official out or something,” said Carey. “We play at all the other events, all the Grand Slams and everything, without sensored rocks.
“After experiencing that, that would be my preference because you generally don’t have other teams doing that and it’s just really unfortunate to get punished for something you don’t deserve.”
Despite Canada’s rethrow, Brown drew for the single to make it 5-2 after four ends.
Carey responded with a point in the fifth, then added another four in the sixth when Brown came up well short on an easy draw for one. The Americans immediately conceded after that, bringing the game to a close in less than two hours.
Earlier Sunday, Carey and her Calgary-based rink beat Switzerland’s Binia Feltscher 7-4 in the third draw of the tournament.
The Canadians are first in the standings after five draws, with Japan’s Satsuki Fujisawa also a perfect 3-0. Carey and her teammates play Anna Sidorova of Russia (2-1) on Monday morning in Draw 6, then Margaretha Sigfridsson of Sweden (1-2) in the evening draw.