Team Sinclair averted a near disaster of epic proportions to stay alive and push Team Roth to a decisive third game with a 7-6 extra-end win in Game 2 of the women’s U.S. Olympic Curling Team Trials at Baxter Arena.
Needing a miracle, Nina Roth’s squad trailed 6-4 in the 10th end with no stones in the house and needing to score both of its final two rocks in order to extend the game.
Roth drew her second-to-last shot behind one of the two Sinclair house stones.
All Skip Jamie Sinclair had to do was remove the lone Roth stone to clinch the game.
She missed, taking one of her own stones out in the process and leaving Roth with a wide open last shot worth two points to send the game to an 11th end.
Sinclair said it was a shot she would make eight out of 10 times.
“It was a little bit heartbreaking just because it was so close, and I had the same shot twice. It was a little bit unfortunate,” Sinclair said.
But Team Sinclair and her squad were able to put it behind them knowing they had the hammer, or advantageous last shot, coming in the extra end.
“It wasn’t the end of the world. We were OK going to the extra end. As long as the score is close and if we have the hammer, we’re very efficient,” Sinclair said.
Roth, whose team opened the best-of-3 playoff with a 6-5 win Thursday, said she was surprised when she was presented with the chance to extend the game.
“I kind of threw the first one like, ‘It doesn’t look good. I’ve got nothing to lose. Just try my best to make the shot and see whatever happens.’ And then she missed, and I had a free shot,” Roth said.
The wild 10th end followed a ninth that was nearly as chaotic.
Heavy shots by Sinclair vice skip Alex Carlson and Sinclair set Roth up for a possible multiple-point windfall.
But Sinclair followed with a double takeout, and Roth’s hammer shot slid about an inch too far as Team Sinclair stole the point to go up 6-4.
“The ninth end was a little dicey for my liking,” Sinclair said. “They could have scored a big end on us, so I was a little bit nervous there. I made a good shot on my last one. I wasn’t sure if that was even there. We got lucky with that one for sure.”
Both Roth and Sinclair said nerves may have contributed to late missed shots for the two teams attempting to qualify for their first Olympic games.
“We were excited,” Roth said. “We were definitely fighting back and had our opportunities. They were nervous, too, and missing shots, and we didn’t execute on top of that.”
“It’s always tough,” Sinclair said. “Because your mind does wander to, ‘Oh my goodness. If I make this, that could be game.’ We’ve trained all season for this knowing that we would be in these kinds of games and situations.
“So really being able to recognize that and then bring ourselves back to the present and just the process of doing what we need to do to make the shot.”
Game 3 is Saturday at Baxter Arena.
Roth.............010 101 100 20—6
Sinclair..........002 010 021 01—7