SASKATOON — Late misses helped decide a wild, entertaining and rather shocking women’s final at Canada’s Olympic curling trials on Sunday.
Jennifer Jones stunningly blew a golden opportunity to win the game in the 10th end. The timing of Tracy Fleury’s error in the extra end proved even more costly.
When the dust settled, Jones escaped with an enthralling 6-5 victory to book her team’s ticket to the Beijing Games.
“We’re there to pick each other up when you miss,” Jones said. “Not everybody can say that and that’s really a big strength of our team.”
Brad Gushue earned the men’s title later in the day with a 4-3 victory over Brad Jacobs.
A gasp went up throughout SaskTel Centre when Jones missed an open takeout for the victory — usually a slam dunk for the veteran skip — with her stone rolling out to leave her with just a game-tying single.
Jones realized halfway down the sheet that the rock was in trouble. She furiously bellowed at her teammates to try to hold it but it curled a little too much.
A stunned Fleury put her hand over her mouth in astonishment.
“We thought we had lost in the 10th for sure,” Fleury said. “I think Jen makes that 99 per cent of the time, that shot. So we felt lucky to be able to go to an extra and we really wanted to pull it off there.
“But I didn’t make my last two shots.”
Jones refocused and put the pressure on Fleury, hoping to make her throw a challenging final shot. Jones drew to the side of the button behind a guard and Fleury missed a runback attempt.
Jones followed with a guard that Fleury rubbed on her final throw to give up the decisive point on a steal.
“I felt close but then it just kind of caught the curl,” Fleury said.
The men’s final was a tight defensive battle that looked like it was also heading to an extra end.
Jacobs had a chance to hit for a pair but he overthrew his final rock a little bit and rolled out to give Gushue the win.
“We needed to be near-perfect today in order to win this game and we weren’t,” Jacobs said.
The teams blanked four of the first seven ends. In the eighth, Jacobs lost hammer when he jammed on a double-takeout attempt and settled for a hit for one.
Gushue scored the game’s only deuce in the ninth end and Jacobs couldn’t build enough offence in the 10th before his miss.
Jones and her team of Kaitlyn Lawes, Jocelyn Peterman, Dawn McEwen and Lisa Weagle entered the showdown of Manitoba-based teams with a big edge in experience.
Jones won Olympic gold at the 2014 Sochi Games and has won six national women’s titles. Fleury and her team of Selena Njegovan, Liz Fyfe and Kristin MacCuish, were making their first appearance in a trials final.
Early jitters seemed to be a factor.
Rollouts were common in the first end and Jones put early pressure on to generate a quick steal. Jones buried a draw to force Fleury to tap but she brushed her own stone and rolled off.
Jones made some mistakes too as she sent a draw through the rings in the third end, eventually settling for a hit for two. Fleury responded with a pair of her own and Lawes came through in the fifth end with a brilliant triple-takeout that set up a blank.
The top-ranked Fleury team wasn’t nearly as dominant as they were throughout most of round-robin play.
Her perfect 8-0 mark gave her the first seed and an off-day ahead of the final. Jones was 5-3 in round-robin play and defeated Krista McCarville in the semifinal on Saturday.
Jones gave away another point in the sixth end when her draw grazed the shot stone and settled on the edge of the four-foot ring. A measure confirmed a single instead of a pair.
Jones decided to retain hammer for the 10th end by giving up a single in the ninth that left Fleury with a 5-4 lead.
Announced attendance was 4,741 for the women’s final, bringing the weekly total for the women’s event to 57,266. The men’s final drew 4,813 spectators for an overall men’s total of 49,878.
Gushue and Jacobs were tied at 7-1 in round-robin play but Gushue took the top seed since he won their head-to-head matchup. Jacobs beat Kevin Koe in the semifinal.
Koe and Rachel Homan skipped the Canadian team entries at the 2018 Pyeongchang Games but both missed the podium. Weagle was Homan’s lead that year and joined Jones’s rink in March 2020 to form a five-player team.
It will be the third straight Olympic appearance for Lawes, who was Jones’s vice in Sochi and teamed with John Morris to win mixed doubles gold four years later in South Korea.
“Pinch me,” Lawes said. “I’m in shock and so happy.”
McEwen was also on the Sochi roster.
Jacobs vice Marc Kennedy won gold with Kevin Martin in 2010 and returned to the Games in 2018 with skip Kevin Koe. Jacobs, E.J. Harnden and Ryan Harnden were victorious in Sochi.
Gushue and vice Mark Nichols won gold together at the 2006 Turin Olympics. Their front end of Brett Gallant and Geoff Walker will make their Olympic debut at the Feb. 4-20 Beijing Games.
The Canadian mixed doubles trials are set for Dec. 28-Jan. 2 in Portage la Prairie, Man.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published Nov. 28, 2021.
Chiefs’ Tyrann Mathieu suffers concussion on opening drive vs. Bills – Sportsnet.ca
KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — Kansas City Chiefs safety Tyrann Mathieu has been ruled out for the remainder of Sunday’s divisional-round game against the Buffalo Bills after suffering a concussion while trying to make a tackle on the opening drive.
The Chiefs had held the Bills to fourth-and-2 at midfield when Allen took off on a designed run. Mathieu went low trying to tackle the 240-pound quarterback and his helmet collided with the knee of teammate Jarran Reed.
Mathieu was checked briefly in the blue sideline tent before he was taken to the locker room.
Allen converted that fourth-down run, then the Bills converted again on fourth-and-goal at the Kansas City 1 to take a 7-0 lead in a rematch of last year’s AFC title game won by the Chiefs.
Beijing introduces more COVID measures as cases mount before Olympics
Beijing‘s city government on Sunday introduced new measures to contain a recent outbreak of COVID-19, as China’s capital continued to report new local cases of the virus less than two weeks before it hosts the Winter Olympic Games.
Nine locally transmitted cases were found in Beijing on Jan. 22, the National Health Commission said on Sunday, of which six were in the city’s Fengtai district.
Fengtai will organise nucleic acid tests for COVID-19 for all of its residents on Sunday, district health authorities said.
Authorities have asked residents of “risky areas,” including a neighbourhood of Fengtai, to not leave the city, a local government spokesman said at a Sunday news conference, adding that Fengtai residents have been asked to avoid mass gatherings.
Beijing city has also asked residents to proactively conduct nucleic acid tests if they find themselves with COVID-19-like symptoms within 14 days of receiving any deliveries from overseas, local authorities said in a statement dated Saturday.
Authorities have suggested Beijing’s first case of the Omicron variant of the novel coronavirus could have arrived via a package from Canada.
In Fengtai, some kindergartens have told parents that children who have not been vaccinated against COVID-19 will not be able to attend, two parents told Reuters.
Reuters could not determine whether the requirement is a government regulation or the kindergartens’ own rules.
A mother surnamed Wang, whose child attends at a private kindergarten in Fengtai, said a teacher told her on Friday that unvaccinated children will not be allowed to return from Monday citing new government regulations, without providing Wang any official documents.
“This is not on a voluntary basis. This is coercion,” Wang told Reuters. She said she has filed a complaint with authorities in the hope of having the requirement removed.
Reuters could not reach local authorities for comment on a non-business day.
Mainland China reported 56 new COVID-19 cases on Jan. 22, down from 63 a day earlier, the National Health Commission said.
Of the new cases, 19 were locally transmitted, versus 23 a day earlier, it said.
The number of new asymptomatic cases, which China does not classify as confirmed cases, fell to 34 from 43.
There were no new fatalities, leaving the death toll at 4,636.
As of Jan. 22, mainland China had confirmed 105,603 cases.
(Reporting by Yingzhi Yang, Roxanne Liu, Jing Xu and Ryan Woo in Beijing; Editing by William Mallard and Christopher Cushing)
ECHL's Jacksonville Icemen release Jacob Panetta after Jordan Subban calls out racist gesture – The Athletic
The ECHL’s Jacksonville Icemen released defenseman Jacob Panetta on Sunday after South Carolina Stingrays defenseman Jordan Subban said he was subjected to a racist gesture during Saturday’s game. The league suspended Panetta indefinitely, pending a hearing under the league’s collective bargaining agreement.
Later Sunday, Panetta released a response on Twitter, tagging Subban and captioning the video, “racism has no place in this world and no place in the game we love.” He said the gesture he made toward Subban was a “tough-guy, bodybuilder-like” one during a confrontation on the ice. He also said he’s made the same gesture to “non-racialized players a number of times” in his career.
Subban said Panetta made monkey gestures in his direction. His brother, New Jersey Devils defenseman P.K. Subban, later tweeted a video of the incident, which occurred 23 seconds into overtime.
“More like (Panetta) was too much of a coward to fight me and as soon as I began to turn my back he started making monkey gestures at me so I punched him in the face multiple times and he turtled like the coward he is,” Jordan Subban tweeted after the game.
In his video, Panetta said “no racist slurs, noises, or anything of the like, were said by me during the incident.” While he said there were no racial intentions behind the gesture, Panetta apologized for the “pain and suffering and anger my actions have caused him, his family, and everyone that was hurt by this.”
“I acknowledge the impact of my gesture and will commit to better understand the impact going forward,” Panetta said. “Those who know me understand (it) was not intended to be racial, it is not who I am, it is not how I have been raised.
“But at the same time, I need to and I will learn from this. Racism and other forms of discrimination have no place in society, including hockey. I believed that before, and I still believe that now.”
Panetta’s release is “effective immediately” and the investigation is still ongoing at the league level, Jacksonville said in a statement.
South Carolina president Rob Concannon said the club is “disgusted and appalled” by Saturday’s incident.
“Our organization stands in support of our friend and teammate, Jordan, as well as the other players who continue to deal with racism and discrimination. This behavior has to stop and is unacceptable.”
The NHL also issued a statement Sunday, saying it “will continue to make its resources available to the hockey ecosystem to educate and inform, with the goal of making the game welcoming and safe for all players and fans.”
“Incidents of racism, whether they occur in hockey or anywhere else, are abhorrent,” the league said.
Later Sunday, the Devils released a statement backing the Subbans. “We stand in support of Jordan, P.K., the Subban family and anyone who has experienced discrimination within our sport,” team said. “This week’s racist acts within the hockey community are unacceptable and have no place in the game or anywhere.”
(Photo: Brett Carlsen / Getty Images)
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