PRINCE GEORGE — Another late-game letdown against South Korea cost Canada’s Kerri Einarson a chance to play for a women’s world curling championship.
EunJung Kim downed the host country 9-6 in Saturday’s semifinal to advance to the gold-medal game Sunday when they’ll take on Switzerland’s Silvana Tirinzoni for the crown.
Tirinzoni, a 7-5 winner over Sweden in the other semifinal, will attempt to go undefeated in the tournament en route to a third straight world title.
Einarson faces Sweden’s Anna Hasselborg for bronze Sunday morning.
Canada scored three points in the seventh end to lead 6-4 on Saturday, but Kim countered with a deuce in the eighth and a steal of one in the ninth.
Down a point coming home with hammer, mistakes from the middle of Einarson’s lineup had the skip facing low percentage shots to score even one point to push the game into an extra end, let alone generate a deuce for the win.
A long raise to move South Korean stones bunched on the four-foot rings was a Hail Mary that didn’t work.
“I had a shot to win. It was extremely difficult,” Einarson said. “We’ve lost tough games before and come back strong. We’re going to have to come back strong and medal tomorrow.”
Jennifer Jones (2018) and Rachel Homan (2017) skipped Canada to its only world women’s curling titles in the last dozen.
Canadian third Val Sweeting clipped off South Korean stones stacked on the four-foot rings and lost her shooter twice in the 10th end.
Second Shannon Birchard also lost her shooter on an attempted double that only removed one opposing counter.
“Just overthrowing,” Einarson said. “(The ice) got quite straighter and it was extremely fast. It was as fast as we’ve seen it all week.”
The Canadians left the ice with grim faces. Einarson ran to the CN Centre stands to hug her twin daughters.
Canada also lost to the South Koreans in the round-robin. Einarson gave up a steal of one point in both the 10th and 11th ends.
“That sucks to give away another game,” Sweeting said. “We fought really hard that game and we gave ourselves a really good chance. But ultimately just too many misses at the end of the game in nine and 10.
“We gave ourselves a chance and just kind of let it slip away. Absolutely we’re going to be gunning hard for that medal tomorrow. We know how much it means.”
Tirinzoni (13-0) can join Jones and Homan to skip the only teams to go undefeated through all round-robin and playoff games to a title.
“When you become world champion you don’t look back at how many games you won or lost in the round robin, but when you go undefeated it’s still a good feeling,” the Swiss skip said. “You kind of forget how to lose a game. It builds up confidence for sure.”
Her team topped the preliminary round in last month’s Olympic Games, but Tirinzoni lost a semifinal to Japan and the bronze-medal game to Hasselborg in Beijing.
“It’s special to win the semis against Sweden and have the chance to defend our title. It’s really, really what we came here for,” the Swiss skip said. “It’s been such a long week, but now that we’ve actually reached that goal, it’s amazing. I have no words.”
Canada went 9-3 in the preliminary round to earn the third playoff seed behind the Swiss and South Koreans (9-3).
Einarson defeated Denmark 9-8 earlier Saturday in a playoff game.