Sochi Olympics: U.S. on brink of elimination in women's curling

Sochi Olympics: U.S. on brink of elimination in women's curling
Canada's skip Jennifer Jones, right, delivers the rock while teammates Jill Officer, center, and Dawn McEwen, left, prepare to sweep. (Wong Maye-E / Associated Press)

SOCHI, Russia — Canada got a third straight win in women's Olympic curling Wednesday, beating Britain 9-6 in a tense game that went down to the final stone.

The U.S., meanwhile, lost again to move to the brink of elimination.

Against Canada, British skip Eve Muirhead had an easy chance to take the game to an extra end at 8-8 by scoring two points with the last shot. Instead, she gambled on removing three Canadian rocks in the house and going for three points, which would have won the game 9-8. The move backfired.

"It was a gamble but … that's the skip," Muirhead said. "They get the glory when they make them or the slack if they miss them."

Canadian skip Jennifer Jones said she "probably would have thrown the draw to go to the extra end."

"It was a tough triple to get everything to spin out," Jones said, "but I guess she makes them a lot."

The undefeated Canadians joined Switzerland atop the standings at 3-0. They earlier had wins over China and Sweden, two of its other main rivals for gold.

Britain came to the Olympics as one of the favorites but has lost two of its first three games.

The Americans lost their fourth straight, 7-4 to China, and likely will need to win all five of their remaining round-robin games to stand a chance of reaching the semifinals.

"We are going to stay upbeat whatever happens," U.S. skip Erika Brown said. "We worked really hard to be here. We are doing our best out there and we'll keep fighting."

In other matches in the afternoon session, defending champion Sweden beat Korea 7-4 and host nation Russia lost to Japan 8-4.

China, Japan and Sweden are all 2-1.

Muirhead's miss, which came with the clock running down, leaves the British in some early trouble in the standings, although they have played arguably their two toughest round-robin games — against Sweden and now Russia.

They have lost them both.

"It would have been nice to get a win against one of them but at the end of the day, we are not down and out," Muirhead said.

"We have to make sure we don't drop too many more."

Jones was outshone by Muirhead in a battle between two hotbeds of curling.

"Jennifer just shot the lights out," Muirhead said.

Canada is looking for a first gold medal in the women's tournament since the Nagano Olympics in 1998.