It was an up-and-down day for Canada’s curlers at the Winter Olympics on Monday as Calgary skip Kevin Koe lost his third straight game while Rachel Homan notched her third consecutive victory.
Koe slipped to 4-3 with a 9-7 extra-end loss to American John Shuster and Homan improved to 3-3 following an 8-3 drubbing of Japan.
The tournament has been a roller-coaster for both teams so far after Homan opened with three straight losses before turning things around. Koe, on the other hand, reeled off four straight wins before hitting a rough patch.
Both teams remained in playoff contention. The top four teams in each draw make the semifinals.
Koe said his team needs to quickly move on.
“It wasn’t much, just a couple of shots here and there really,” he said. “We don’t take much away from it, that game’s done with, we’ve just got to find a way to play better ourselves.”
Koe took responsibility for not making some key shots.
“Games come down to some big shots and if I’d come up with one or two more, it could have been a different game,” he said. “We’re playing well, but I can make a few bigger ones for the guys. That’s something I’ve been able to do in the past in big events, and I’ve missed a few here this week.”
Canadian second Brent Laing said he is still positive, despite the three losses.
“If you’re losing games and not making shots that’s one thing. But we’ve played a lot worse than we did in the last three games and won a lot of games,” he said. “So if you’re playing poorly then there’s need for concern, but we’re not doing that.”
Meanwhile, Homan said the team has put their early struggles behind them.
“We had to let go of the past and focus on the present, one game and one shot at the time,” said Homan of the turnaround. “Stay in the moment, but still enjoying our time here and our experience as Olympians. I’m really proud that we’re here representing Canada and we’re going to give it our all and leave it out there.
“If it’s good enough, awesome, and we can’t wait to hopefully make playoff. If it’s not good enough, the team comes out that plays better than us deserves to win.”
Homan stole four in the fifth end to take a 6-1 lead over Satsuki Fujisawa’s rink.
Japan came back with a deuce in the next end but Homan’s two points in the seventh forced Fujisawa to concede.
The win put Canada into a tie for fourth with China and Britain at 3-3.
Canada plays China on Tuesday and Britain on Wednesday to close out the round-robin portion of the event.
Canada won both men’s and women’s gold at the Sochi Games four years ago.