SWIFT CURRENT, Sask. — Canada’s Jennifer Jones has seen both sides of the playoffs at the world women’s curling championship, and she likes the view from the top.
Her team out of the St. Vital Curling Club in Winnipeg capped the preliminary round Thursday with an 8-5 win over Scotland to finish first with a 10-1 record.
Canada will face Germany’s Andrea Schoepp (8-3) in Friday’s Page playoff (TSN, 8 p.m,) between the top two seeds. The winner heads to Sunday’s final and the loser drops to Saturday’s semifinal.
Canada’s only loss of the round robin was 8-7 in an extra end to the Germans.
“Hopefully it will be our turn in the one-two game,” Jones said.
Scotland’s Eve Muirhead also finished 8-3, but was seeded third because of a loss to Germany in the round robin. Sweden’s Cecilia Ostlund and Erika Brown of the United States tied for fourth at 7-4 and will play a tiebreaker Friday.
The winner of Saturday’s playoff between Scotland and the fourth seed advances to the semifinal later in the day to face the loser between Canada and Germany. Canada’s reward for finishing first was either their choice of rocks or starting each game with last-rock advantage. Jones says she’ll take the latter.
“We want the hammer, we like the hammer,” Jones said. “We were basically playing for hammer tonight and we got it, so I don’t think we’d give it up.”
Jones won a world title two years ago in Vernon, B.C., with her current teammates Cathy Overton-Clapham, Jill Officer and Dawn Askin.
Winners of three straight Canadian titles, they’ve participated in many playoff games both domestically and abroad, yet it never gets old for the skip.
“That’s what you play for, the adrenaline rush, the excitement,” Jones said. “The biggest thing is you’re the only game out there. Obviously being in Canada, everybody is cheering for us which is super-cool.
“Those are the moments you don’t forget, win or lose. We’re really excited we get to experience it again.
“We know what to expect. We know how to calm our nerves. We know how to soak up the moment because we’ve been there before.”
Jones and company earned a top-two playoff seeding two years ago when they won their world title in Vernon, B.C.
Jones has had less success in the three-four Page playoff. She lost that match and didn’t make the podium in her other world championship appearances, both last in year in Gangneung, South Korea, and 2005 in Paisley, Scotland.
“You never want to lose the one-two game, but if you do, you have another life and that’s how we won in Vernon,” Jones said. “We’re in a pretty good spot. We came through the (nationals) winning the one-two game and we’ve done it the other way too.”
The Canadians won eight games in a row before falling to the Germans on Wednesday, but recovered to beat Russia 7-4 on Thursday morning and then the Scots at night.
“We all had draw weight, felt really good with the ice and knew where to put the broom for all the different kinds of weights and . . . I felt that was the biggest thing for us,” Jones said to sum up her team’s preliminary round. “We didn’t miss very many draws and that’s huge in a week-long event.”
Schoepp, who finished sixth in the Olympics last month, set a record here for most appearances as a skip at the world championship with 17.
Teams such defending champion China, who finished out of the playoffs at 6-5, seemed to suffer post-Olympic fatigue here. Schoepp says she has no trouble getting motivated for world championships.
“I wasn’t looking forward to the Olympics, but the whole season I was looking forward to this event,” Schoepp said. “I know I’m not normal and maybe a little bit crazy and different, but that’s the way I’m feeling.
“This event you play just for you. You are the main sport, you are the people where everything is all about (you). The Olympics, as a curler, you are kind of in the background.”
Her lone title was in 1988 and her last playoff game was in 2006 when she lost to Canada’s Kelly Scott in the three-four game. The German skip doesn’t feel handing Canada its only loss of the preliminary round gives her team any advantage on Friday.
“We knew that we could beat them, so it was nothing that was really surprising,” Schoepp said.
China, the Olympic bronze medallists, and Denmark finished tied at 6-5, Russia was 5-6 followed by Norway and Switzerland at 3-8. Japan was 2-9 ahead of Latvia at 1-10.