March 24, 2012
The stakes were high when Korea faced Canada in the Page 3 versus 4 Play-off game in the Ford World Women’s Curling Championship 2012 in Lethbridge, Canada – the winner would go onto face Switzerland in the semi-final for a place in the final and the chance to play against Sweden for the world crown, while the loser would have to settle for the bronze medal play-off against the semi-final loser.
In a cagey start to what would be a close game, Korean skip Ji-Sun Kim deliberately blanked the first end, to keep last stone advantage, looking for a big score later. She did the same in the second end but was eventually forced to score just one point in the third when, after a succession of freezes, she had no option but to roll her last stone in, to sit on top of the Canadian counter.
Canadian skip Heather Nedohin levelled the game when she scored one point in the fourth with a straight nose-hit and the Canadians then took the advantage in the sixth when they stole one point as Kim’s last stone hit and then rolled, but not enough to better the Canadian stone already in the house. This gave Canada a 2-1 lead, but the Koreans responded straightaway, hitting and rolling out in the seventh end to leave another of their stones counting for one point.
In the eighth, Canada moved ahead again, scoring one point with a solid hit and stay by Nedohin. Korea blanked the ninth end to keep last stone advantage in the tenth, and eventually Kim played a bold tap-up on one of her own stones to score two points, win the game at 4-3, and keep the dream of a first-ever Korean world title alive.
Afterwards, a delighted Kim beamed: “I feel very good, I’m very happy, it was a lot of fun. I thought we could win, that’s why I wasn’t too scared during the game. I was nervous with the last stone in the tenth end, but I thought I could do it, and I did.” She added: “our strategy was very simple. I thought the way to beat Canada was to keep it close and we would be more comfortable in our shots.”
Meanwhile, a tearful Canadian skip Heather Nedohin said, “extreme disappointment, that’s how I’m feeling right now. As a Canadian, as Team Nedohin, as Team Alberta, as Team Canada, we came here to win. We believed. We had the whole nation behind us and we went out to win that one. There was fire in our eyes right from the beginning, and we played hard.”
She went on: “I thought the Koreans were extremely defensive. The only entertaining end was the last one and she did make a pistol to win - it was a great shot. I have the utmost respect for any player who can make that behind a Canadian crowd” adding, “there’s no way we’re losing that bronze medal game”.
Playoff 3v4: Korea 4, Canada 3
Standings after 3v4 Playoff
1. Sweden 9-3 (to play Gold Medal Game on Sunday)
Switzerland 8-4 (to play Semi-final on Saturday night)
Korea 9-3 (to play Semi-final on Saturday night)
Canada 8-5 (to play Bronze Medal Game on Sunday)
5. USA 7-5
6. Scotland 6-5
7. Germany 5-6
8. Denmark 5-6
9. Russia 4-7
10. Italy 3-8
11. China 3-8
12. Czech Republic 2-9
Semi-final: Switzerland v Korea
Gold Medal Game: Sweden v winner of semi-final