Einarson's five-game win streak ends with loss to Japan at world curling playdowns

Team Canada skip Kerri Einarson, centre, makes a shot as lead Briane Meilleur, left, and second Shannon Birchard sweep against Denmark at the Women's World Curling Championship in Calgary, Alta., Thursday, May 6, 2021. Canada defeated Denmark 10-8 Thursday morning, but lost to Japan in the afternoon draw 7-5. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh)

Mixed results Thursday left Kerri Einarson's Canadian team in a precarious position entering the final day of round-robin competition at the world women's curling championship.

Einarson beat Denmark's Madeleine Dupont 10-8 in the morning session but her five-game winning streak ended in the afternoon when she dropped a 7-5 decision to Japan's Sayaka Yoshimura.

Canada will take a 6-6 record into its Friday morning game against China's Yu Han, needing a victory to improve its chances of making the top-six cutline for weekend play.

"I don't even actually know what the standings are," Einarson said. "I know what we need to do and that's all matters. “

Canada was clinging to sixth place entering the evening draw at WinSport's Markin MacPhail Centre.

Denmark (5-5) was alone in seventh place with two games in hand on Canada. Germany's Daniela Jentsch and South Korea's EunJung Kim were next at 5-6 and China was 4-6.

Depending on results over the last three sessions, the Manitoba-based team of Einarson, Val Sweeting, Shannon Birchard and Briane Meilleur may not learn their playoff fate until late Friday night.

"It's the world championship, there's no easy games out there," Sweeting said. "No one is going to roll over and give you anything out there. But we've been fighting really hard and that's all that we can do.

"We've left everything out there."

Japan made a nice angle raise to score two in the eighth end for a 6-3 lead. Canada responded with a deuce in the ninth but Japan used hammer coming home to make a hit for the win.

"When they are making everything, it's quite hard," Einarson said. "They played really well and got us in some tough spots. I missed a couple of mine, which is unfortunate."

The top six teams in the 14-team field will also earn Olympic berths for their respective countries at the 2022 Beijing Games. A last-chance Olympic qualifier will be held in December.

In the other afternoon games, Switzerland's Silvana Tirinzoni edged American Tabitha Peterson 6-5 and Sweden's Anna Hasselborg beat Germany 6-1.

Switzerland (10-1), Russia's Alina Kovaleva (9-2) and Sweden (8-2) have secured playoff spots. The United States was in fourth place at 7-5 and Scotland's Eve Muirhead (6-4) was in fifth.

In the morning game, Dupont opened with a three-point first end after Einarson was wide with a runback. Canada answered with a five-point end before Denmark reclaimed the lead with another three-ender in the third.

"The opposition is making great shots in front of us and making us make big ones," said Canada coach Heather Nedohin.

Einarson's highlight-reel angle-raise for a pair in the eighth end gave Canada a lead it wouldn't relinquish. Canada then stole a single and played a strong 10th end to force Dupont to concede before throwing her final stone.

The World Curling Federation announced that broadcast coverage will resume Friday afternoon. It was stopped early in the competition after seven members of the event's broadcast staff tested positive for COVID-19.

The broadcast crew is staying at a different hotel than the teams.

After other staffers provided another round of negative COVID-19 PCR test results Thursday, a proposal for a modified broadcast production plan was approved by Alberta Health, the WCF said.

Domestic rights-holder TSN is scheduled to resume its coverage Saturday morning with the qualification game. Medal games are set for Sunday.

Canada is looking to return to the podium for the first time since Jennifer Jones won gold at the 2018 playdowns in North Bay, Ont.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published May 6, 2021.