If there was any fear in Kristen Skaslien’s eyes it certainly didn’t show.
The 36-year-old, who throws last rocks, led Norway to a 6-4 victory over Team Canada Saturday night at CN Centre.
The foursome out of the Lillehammer Curling Club got off to a flying start stealing two in the first end as Canadian skip Kerri Einarson was unable to cash in with the hammer.
Canada’s struggles continued as the Norwegians stole another point in the second to go up 3-0.
“Every single team is going to make you pay if you make a mistake out there. We have to minimize those and capitalize on them when we get our chances,” said Shannon Birchard, Team Canada second.
Birchard and Brianne Meileur’s strong play set up a deuce for Einarson in the third, trimming the deficit to 3-2.
After picking up another single in the 5th, Norway continued to make life uncomfortable for Canada burying a yellow stone deep inside the house, collecting its third steal of the game – extending the advantage to 5-2 after six ends.
“We got off to a great start and we knew we had to play very well in order to beat a team like Canada and tried to make the most of every shot,” said Skaslien.
Einarson battled back by scoring one in the 7th and stealing one in the 8th before Norway got one in the 9th for a 6-4 lead.
The Canadians conceded before Einarson’s last shot in the 10th because they had no chance for a deuce.
Skaslien (vice-skip), Millie Haslev Nordbye (second) and Martine Roenning (lead) all curled over 80%, improving Norway’s record to 1-1.
Norway skip, Marianne Rorvik, who throws third stones, was at 78 %.
Skaslien is a two-time Olympian in the 2018 and 2022 Winter Games picking up a bronze and a silver in mixed doubles.
Rorvik played second for Norway at the 2006 Olympics in Turin, Italy.
“It’s always fun to play against Canada – you have to be at your top level and I guess you’ve got to be sharp because you know they are so good,” said Skaslien.
Conversely, Einarson only converted on 63% of her shots while Canadian third Val Sweeting was 65%.
“We were a little flat today,” stated Einarson. “I think one of my rocks kind of grabbed in the first end. We were a little surprised by that and then I overthrew another one. Just a little bit of overthrowing tonight and not believing it.”
“It’s going to be a grind all week.”
In other action, two-time defending champion (2019, 2021) Silvana Tirinzoni out of Switzerland was all business in her opening game posting a commanding 12-1 thumping over Scotland.
It’s been a hectic month, to say the least for the Zurich-based rink.
After competing at the 2022 Winter Olympics in Beijing, Tirinzoni and the rest of her squad jumped right in and competed at Nationals in order to secure their spot here in PG.
“It’s mentally draining. I came from Beijing. We had to play our Nationals right away and then after that, we had a two-week break. We didn’t see each other, we didn’t go to the ice and we gave ourselves a break to be fresh for this tournament.”
Having been to two Olympic games and six World Championships, there isn’t a lot that fazes Tirinzoni or her team.
“We are a little more relaxed than back in the early days. We may have a little less preparation and it takes less energy to play the game and these things really help. We have been in a lot of situations and there isn’t anything that scares me anymore. It really helps.”
Lastly, Denmark outlasted Germany 11-8 while Japan got past a gritty Turkish side 7-6 in an extra end.
Canada (1-1) is back in action twice more on Sunday – a 2 pm matchup against Turkey (0-2) followed by a 7 pm clash against Tirinzoni and Switzerland (1-0).
The Canadian team won its opener 9-2 over Italy.
Draw three of round-robin kicks off at 9:00 this morning.
Sweden (1-0) vs Switzerland (1-0)
Italy (1-0) vs Japan (1-0)
Germany (0-1) vs Korea (1-0)
Scotland (0-1) vs Czech Republic (0-1)
The schedule and results can be found here.