Canada to play for gold after beating Norway in mixed doubles curling semi

Kaitlyn Lawes, John Morris guaranteed medal in sports' Olympic debut

Canada to play for gold after beating Norway in mixed doubles curling semi
Canada's Kaitlyn Lawes, right, and John Morris defeated Norway 8-4 to advance to the gold medal game of the mixed doubles curling competition. © Natacha Pisarenko/Associated Press

By Neil Davidson, The Canadian Press

Canada moved within a victory of curling gold and assured itself of at least a silver with an 8-4 win over Norway in the Olympic mixed doubles semifinal Monday in Pyeongchang.

Click on the video below to view highlights from Canada's victory:

Canada will play for gold on Tuesday at 6:05 a.m. ET against the winner of the later semifinal against Switzerland (5-2) and the Olympic Athletes from Russia team (4-3) (6:05 a.m. ET. ). Norway will play the loser for bronze.

John Morris of Canmore, Alta., and Winnipeg's Kaitlyn Lawes downed Kristin Skaslien and Magnus Nedregotten for their seventh win in eight outings at these Winter Games.

Click on the video below to hear Lawes and Morris' post-match interview:

Nail-biting affair

But it was a nail-biting affair with the Canadians leaving early points on the ice. After four ends, Canada led 3-2 but Lawes was curling at 41 per cent. Morris was at 81 per cent.

"I was obviously a little bit frustrated with not being able to finish it off with my last rock," said Lawes. "I tried not to get too frustrated and let it bug me. And John was a huge support. He just kept saying 'Be patient. Let's figure it out. We've got eight ends. We can use all eight, so let's just take our time here."'

Added Lawes: "I kept asking myself why. Why was I missing? I felt good with my line. It was just my speed that I felt like I needed to make some adjustments."

Lawes rallied to finish the game curling at 74 per cent. Morris finished at 82 per cent.

Much-needed breathing room

Up 5-4, Lawes delivered with her last rock in the seventh with a hard-sweeping hit-and-stick for three — and some much-needed breathing room.

Click on the video below to see Lawes' big hit:

"That sudden-death semi, as much as you don't want to think about it, is probably the most pressure-packed game there is in curling," said Morris. "We all want to be in that gold-medal game and have a chance at that medal.

"It was a high-pressure game but that's what I live for. I love playing in those games and the juices were flowing today."

New to the Olympic program, mixed doubles is a shorter, faster game with curlers sweeping their own rocks after throwing them. Two rocks are put into play at the start of each end, helping complicate the landscape.

Governor-General Julie Payette and Kevin Koe's Canada men's curling team were in attendance at the Gangneung Curling Centre.

Norway (4-3 in round-robin play) handed Canada (6-1) a 9-6 loss in its opening game of the tournament. But Morris and Lawes rebounded to outscore their next round-robin six opponents 46-17.