Aberdeen, Scotland -- Canada (photo by Richard Gray, World Curling Federation) beat defending champions Sweden by 7-4 in Saturday morning's women's final, at Curling Aberdeen in Aberdeen Scotland, to win gold and become the World Junior Curling Championships winners for 2018.
"This is indescribable and I feel amazing right now," said Canadian skip Kaitlyn Jones after the win. "I know I put everything out there on the line today and came out on top and that's just an incredible feeling."
Canada's Jones with third Kristin Clarke, second Karlee Burgess and lead Lindsey Burgess, supported by alternate Lauren Lenentine and coach Andrew Atherton – scored two points in the third end to move into an early 2-1 lead. Sweden scored one point in the fourth end to level the game at 2-2, but Canada moved ahead again in the fifth end when a double takeout by their skip Jones produced a score of three and a half-time lead of 5-2.
Sweden's Isabella Wrana were chasing after this, another point given away on steal by Canada in the eighth end, when Wrana's double takeout attempt left one Canadian stone still lying in the house, moved the Canadians to a 7-3 lead. The Swedes could only score one point in the ninth end and ran out of stones in the tenth end to concede their title to Canada.
Sweden's Isabella Wranaa with third Jennie Waahlin, second Almida De Val and lead Fanny Sjoeberg, supported by alternate Maria Larsson and coach Margaretha Sigfridsson take home the Silver medal.
"We played really well in the first ten games then we had one poor game and unfortunately ended up with silver," a disappointed Wrana said post game. "We ticked every guard, or if we were around the guard we were not hiding. I think we were a bit unlucky and the Canadian skip [Kaitlyn Jones] played really well today. Of course, we were looking to defend our title but this happens and it's not the happiest moment in our lives really."
For Jones, playing out of Saskatchewan previously, the decision to move in the offseason and join the Nova Scotia-based team was a big one and this win makes it all worth it.
"I'm super proud of my team," said Jones. "We've worked so hard to get here and for me moving all the way across Canada to play with them, it was one of the best decisions I've made."
In the bronze medal game, China beat Norway by 11-5.
The turning point in this game came when China - fourth player Ziqi Dong, skip and third player Zixin Wang, second Meini Wang and lead Chengyu Sun, supported by alternate Jiaxin Yu and coach Yu Zhu - scored four points in the fifth end for a 6-3 lead at the break. In the eighth end, China stole another four points when a draw attempt by Norway's skip Maia Ramsfjell went all the way through the house, leaving four Chinese stones in the house. Norway conceded after that to give China their historic bronze medals.
This was the 12th women's world junior title by Canada, but in contrast, the bronze medal won by China was a first at this level for the Chinese Federation. This is another historic first for the Pacific-Asia zone, following Korea (gold) and Japan (bronze) women's first Olympic Winter Games medals in Gangneung, Republic of Korea last month.
"They should be really proud of what they've accomplished and the vision that they've had in establishing a system that has allowed them to get more juniors out." said coached Marcel Rocque. "I hope it creates a lot of ambitious young players that want to fight for these goals and these dreams. Along with the Beijing Olympics, this is building good momentum for sure."
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