Canada struggling at curling worlds

Canadian skip Amber Holland lost both of her games Sunday to fall to 1-2 at the Capital One world women’s curling championship. Holland followed a 9-4 loss to Russia by dropping an 8-5 decision to host Denmark. Her Saskatchewan rink shot just 70 per cent in the opener.

The skippers: Canadian Amber Holland and  Denmark's Lene Nielsen

The skippers: Canadian Amber Holland and Denmark's Lene Nielsen

ESBJERG, Denmark — Canadian skip Amber Holland lost both of her games Sunday to fall to 1-2 at the Capital One world women’s curling championship.

Holland followed a 9-4 loss to Russia by dropping an 8-5 decision to host Denmark. Her Saskatchewan rink shot just 70 per cent in the opener.

“That’s called not being very sharp,” Holland said. “We just didn’t make many shots today. We had trouble with getting our rocks in the right places.

“They got their rocks in some good spots and we didn’t counter with the right shots afterwards.”

Everything seemed to be going well for Canada in the first half of its game against Denmark. They blanked the first end and then scored a deuce in the second for an early lead.

The teams then swapped singles in the next three ends, with Danish skip Lene Neilsen hanging on with her last hit in the fifth to give Canada a 3-2 half-time lead.

But Holland struggled with her draw-weight in the next two ends, coming up light both times to give up two successive steals of two as Denmark carved out a 6-3 lead.

Canada got back into it with another deuce in the eighth and then forced Denmark to take one in the ninth rather than blank the end to keep hammer for the last end.

This gave Denmark a 7-5 lead. At the end of a tense tenth end the only option left to Holland was to try to come in off a winger and tap-out the Danish counter in the one-foot ring.

Holland’s angles were wrong and she left the Danish rock intact for a single steal, handing the victory to Denmark.

Afterwards, Holland still managed a smile, saying, “we were really confident in the tenth, but this is probably not the start I wanted. I’d like to be more in the win column than in the loss, but it’s a long week and lots can happen.”

It was a familiar story for Holland and the Canadian women.

Earlier in the day in the fifth end against Russia, Holland had to draw to the four-foot rings as she faced four counters with her last rock, but she could only score one.

Three ends later, a Russian clearout jammed at the back of the house, giving Canada a steal of one. Russia scored two more in the ninth end for the win.

Liudmila Privivkova has guided Russia to a 2-1 record, good for a share of first place. She is the skip even though she throws third stones.

Holland is confident her rink will bounce back.

“I think it’s just a little bit about getting comfortable with the ice and comfortable with what we need to do here, nothing special,” she said. “But we had a few players who were struggling a little bit and that doesn’t help because you’ve got to be firing on all four cylinders.”

Holland, who upset Jennifer Jones in the national championships, defeated China on Saturday in her opening game.

In other games Sunday, China whipped Korea 10-3 and then dumped Germany 8-2. The Czech Republic bounced back from a 9-3 loss to Switzerland by topping Norway 7-5. Scotland edged the United States 7-6 before dropping a 5-3 decision to Sweden.

After five draws, seven rinks are tied at 2-1. Canada was one of four rinks at 1-2 and Korea was the lone winless team at 0-3.

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