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Canada's wheelchair curling team qualifies for Paralympic playoffs with comeback win

Canada’s wheelchair curlers are in the playoffs of the Beijing Paralympics.
Canada's Mark Ideson pushes a stone as he and his teammates play against Norway during their wheelchair curling competition at the 2022 Winter Paralympics, Thursday, March 10, 2022, in Beijing. (AP Photo/Dita Alangkara)

BEIJING — Canada’s wheelchair curlers are in the playoffs of the Beijing Paralympics.

The Canadians advanced to the semifinals with a come-from-behind win over Norway on Thursday, finishing with a 7-3 record and a guaranteed spot in the top four. Skip Mark Ideson was pleased to lock up a playoff berth, even as his team was unsure of who it would play next.

“I’m feeling some relief,” said Canadian skip Mark Ideson. “To get through the round robin and to get our spot in the playoffs — it’s a relief.”

Canada has completed its 10-game round robin, but due to the space in the draw left by the banned team from Russia, some teams still have two games to play. 

China, Sweden, and Canada are confirmed playoff teams; the fourth and final playoff spot won’t be decided until late Thursday night.

“I think we thought we should be a playoff team, so it’s great that we officially are,” said Ina Forrest, third for Team Canada. “I think we just go forward playing the same no matter who we play — treating every shot like it matters, and do your best on every single one. We don’t ever quit, so we’re always going to be there.”

But first, the team will take some time to decompress.

“We’re definitely going to prioritize rest and recovery,” said Ideson. “It’s a long week, with ten games in a row … a little rest wouldn’t hurt.”

The Canadians were trailing by three with three ends to play in their final round-robin match. Canada scored two, bringing the Norwegians within one. 

A hit and roll by Canada’s Jon Thurston forced Norway to one in the seventh, meaning Canada would play the eighth down two, with the hammer. 

A perfect end by the Canadians and a costly miss from Norway left Canada sitting three with two rocks to come. 

Norwegian skip Jostein Stordahl attempted a freeze, but left enough room that a well-placed Canadian takeout could remove it, and win the game.

Thurston connected on the takeout and Canada scored three and completed the comeback win, 7-6.

“I just stuck to my process. I really wanted to confirm the weight and the path,” said Thurston, who throws fourth stones for Canada. “We talked it out so I was clear on what I was trying to do. I threw it nice and positive, and we got the result we wanted.”

This report by The Canadian Press was first published March 10, 2022.

The Canadian Press

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