Canada Women Win Gold

Canada women win gold at the World Junior Curling Championships 2015 Photo © WCF / Richard Gray 2015

Canada's women beat Scotland by 8-2 in their gold medal final to complete a golden Canadian double for the first time since 2003 - their men having won their world title earlier at the Tondiraba Ice Hall in Tallinn, Estonia. This victory also completed a remarkable personal double for their skip Kelsey Rocque who retained the world title with a completely different team from last year's winners.

At the same time, Switzerland beat Sweden by 7-6 after an extra end to take the bronze medals.

Canada held last stone at the start of the game and blanked the first end. In the second end Canada's skip Rocque was heavy with her attempt to draw for two points and had to settle for opening the scoring with just one point.

Scotland got on the board in the third end, but by accident. Their skip Gina Aitken wanted to blank the end, but her final effort was tight and she hit and stayed for an unwanted single point.

The Canadian break-through came in the forth end when Rocque pounced on her chance to hit out a Scottish stone and score three points for a clear 4-1 lead. The Scots then succeeded in blanking the fifth end and Canada took a 4-1 lead into the break.

Looking for a bigger score that would bring her team back into the game, Scotland's Aitken was instead forced to draw for just one point in the sixth end to reduce Canada's lead to 4-2.

Canada had another break-through in the seventh end, when Rocque had a nose-hit for another score of three, increasing her lead to 7-2.

In the eighth end, Aitken's final draw came up short to gift Canada a steal of one point and, with the score now at 8-2 to Canada and only two ends left, the Scots conceded.

After her win, Rocque said: "It’s pretty awesome. It’s such a cool feeling and for four of those girls it’s the first time the gold will be around their necks and hopefully not the last, so it’s really exciting."

Speaking about her team, she added: "We’re best friends on and off the ice. What we really do is we handle our emotions well on the ice and we don’t get too worked up over things.”

Meanwhile, Scottish skip Aitken said: “It was a really good game. I think both teams actually played really well and in the end it just came down to a few shots that didn’t come off for us and then Kelsey and her team played well and took advantage of it. I think just now we are a little disappointed but in a couple of hours or a couple of days we’ll be delighted with what we’ve done."

In winning the gold medal final, the Canadians completed the whole week's competition without a single loss. They won all nine of their round-robin games, beat Scotland in their Page Play-off game then repeated that win in the final. They now become only the second team to complete that feat, after Canada's Marliese Miller at the 2003 Championships in Flims, Switzerland.

Speaking about her undefeated performance, Kelsey Rocque said: “We were talking about going undefeated a little bit at supper last night but yeah, it’s pretty awesome."

In the bronze game between Sweden and Switzerland, it was the Swedes who took the early advantage. With last stone, they scored one point in the opening end and then found themselves 3-0 up after three ends, as Switzerland gave up single steals in two successive ends.

In the fourth end, as they tried to get back into the game, Switzerland's fourth player Briar Huerlimann hit out a Swedish stone but rolled too far with her own, and only scored one point.

Sweden then extended their lead to 4-1 with a single point in the fifth end.

In the sixth end Switzerland's Huerlimann did succeed in bringing her team right back into the game with a hit and stay that scored three points and levelled the score at 4-4.

The teams then swapped singles in the next four ends to complete ten ends tied at 6-6 and force an extra end.

In this end, Sweden had last stone, but Switzerland's Huerlimann delivered an inch-perfect draw behind a guard with her last stone. Sweden's skip Isabella Wranaa tried to take it out but caught the guard to give up a steal of one, the game, and the bronze medals to Switzerland.

After the game, Switzerland's skip Elena Stern said: "It’s unbelievable, I actually can’t believe it yet. There are still so many emotions", and speaking about the dramatic end of the game, she said: “You are just hoping for the best, the head is empty at that moment."

Meanwhile a disconsolate Wranaa admitted: “It feels awful. We were so close and yet we lost.”

During the closing ceremony, the winners of the WCF Sportsmanship Awards were announced.

These Awards are made every year, with the players voting for a fellow competitor who "best exemplifies the traditional values of skill, honesty, fair play, sportsmanship and friendship" during the event.

The men's winner was Norway's skip Gaute Nepstad, while the women's winner was Niamh Fenton of England. The Norwegian men finished sixth overall to take the last available direct qualification position in the line-up for the 2016 World Junior Championships, while the English women - making their first appearance at this level - finished in ninth place.

Also during the closing ceremony WCF President Kate Caithness announced that the 2016 World Junior Curling Championships will be staged in the Milli Piyango Curling Arena in Erzurum, Turkey from March 5 to March 13, 2016.

This facility was built in 2010 to host the curling tournament of the 25th Winter Universiade in 2011 and has since hosted the fifth World Mixed Doubles Championship, the European Mixed Curling Championship, and also the C-Group play-offs of the European Curling Championships, all in 2012.

With the conclusion of these Championships, the final line-up of nations qualified for the 2016 Olympic Youth Winter Games in Lillehammer, Norway is now determined.

See the nations that have qualified here: http://wcf.co/1wguxNc

RESULTS

Medal Games: Scotland 2, Canada 8; Sweden 6, Switzerland 7 (extra end)

Final Standings (W-L):

1. Canada (11-0) Gold Medal
2. Scotland (7-5) Silver Medal
3. Switzerland (5-5) Bronze Medal
4. Sweden (7-5)
5. USA (5-5)
6. Korea (6-4)
7. Russia (5-5) B
8. Estonia (2-7) B
9. England (2-7) B
10. Czech Republic (0-9) B

B - Teams now drop into the World Junior-B Curling Championships 2016 event taking place in Lohja, Finland in January 2016. The three medal winning teams from this qualification event will then participate in the World Junior Curling Championships 2016.

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