Korea ices Canada's gold-medal shot
Canada skip Heather Nedohin departs the rink after losing to South Korea during their page playoff game at the World Women's Curling Championships in Lethbridge, Alberta March 24, 2012. (REUTERS/Andy Clark)
The sense of frustration in Heather Nedohin’s voice was palpable.
She had waited 14 years to improve on the Worlds bronze she earned as third for Cathy King’s team in 1998.
At the end of her day, she’ll be playing for bronze again.
In a hard-fought battle against Korea skip Ji-Sun Kim, Nedohin came out second-best, losing a 4-3 decision.
“If (spit)balls is the word, that’s how I’m feeling right now,” said Nedohin before going on a tirade about Korea’s boring style. “Extreme disappointment. I thought the Koreans came not to play against us.
“They were extremely defensive right from the git-go. The only entertaining end was the last one. She did make a pistol, I will absolutely say that,” she added. “It was a great shot to win. I just wish the game was more of a game.”
Nedohin had fought hard enough to overcome hammer in the 3-4 game, finally going ahead on a sixth-end steal. It was the first mistake by Korean skip Ji-Sun Kim, who had been an astounding 100% up to that point.
While the Canadians grimly hung on and with the game looking like it could go into an extra end, Nedohin’s last rock for an attempted freeze ran straight and ticked a Korean rock.
All Kim had to do was tap in that rock into the four-foot for the second point and the game.
“As a Canadian, as Team Nedohin, as Team Alberta, as Team Canada, we came here to win,” said Nedohin. “Congratulations to them. They got a W out of it. I just don’t think it was a good game.
“I have the utmost respect for any player who can make that shot with everything on the line, in front of a Canadian crowd.”
Now, it’s bronze or bust.
Birthday girl lead Laine Peters echoed the sentiments.
“We were trying to get it going,” she said. “When we had chances to force the issue, we didn’t quite make them.
“I think it’s devastating. I’m not happy at all. We came here to win gold and we can’t do that now.”
Third Beth Iskiw seemed more practical about how Korea was able to frustrate Canada.
“They had a game plan, we had a game plan,” said Iskiw. “We had a couple of opportunities where we could have pressed the issue, but we didn’t.”
The decisive 10th, though, was one that snuck up on the Canadians.
“Unfortunately, the runback didn’t quite work,” said Iskiw about her first rock that left the Canadian shot exposed. “In hindsight, maybe we should have drawn, but we didn’t see it at the time. It did definitely sneak up on us. If I’d have made my freeze better or Heather’s, it’s a different story.”
There are no ifs about it, like her skipper, Iskiw is disappointed in the turn of events.
“Obviously, we wanted to be in the gold medal game,” said Iskiw. “We felt we played a really good game today.
“We wanted to force the issue in the 10th,” she added. “We wanted to win right there ... on one hand, I’m disappointed, on the other I’m not. We put it all out there today.”
Kim said the KISS strategy — keep it simple, silly — would give Korea its best chance to beat Canada.
“It was on purpose that the strategy was very simple,” said Kim, through an interpreter. “The way to beat Team Canada is not to make too big of a score difference, but to keep it close.
“That way we would be more comfortable with our shots.”