OGDEN — Of the 2 million curlers in the world, 1.8 million live in Canada, and that contingent has something to cheer about now as both the Canadian men's and women's junior curling teams are world champions.

The men beat Denmark 7-6 Sunday in a game that finished with the last stone — a day after the women from north of the border stole a victory from Sweden, 6-4, in extra ends. In bronze medal match-ups, the U.S. men's junior curling team defeated Scotland, 7-5, Sunday morning, while Switzerland's women grabbed a 5-4 victory Saturday afternoon from Japan.

The Americans watched the gold medal game, pleased with their performances after finishing with a 7-2 record after round-robin competition but smarting a little they weren't on the ice vying for the world title. This is the second bronze medal for the Andy Roza rink (curling term for team) from Omaha. The team also took bronze in 1999.

"It's been a great week," said U.S. coach Ralph Roza, Andy's father. "We're very proud to win the bronze but disappointed. In our play-off game with Denmark (Saturday, in which they lost 4-8) the ice was a little faster. It cost us opportunities in the early ends."

But he credited the Denmark team. "They're a good team so they took advantage of the opportunities obviously."

Denmark's silver medal is the first medal for Danish men in junior curling world championships. And they very nearly slipped out with the gold. They scored first in the first end, taking a 1-0 lead. They lost the lead in the second end, but regained it in the fourth. It continued that way the rest of the nine ends.

Canada had the last throw — critical in close games — and threw a "hit and stay" to pull out the victory. A "hit and stay" describes a team's stone striking the opponents' stone in the "house" or target embedded in the ice. The second stone stays in the house, while the other team's stone is knocked out of scoring position.

In women's play, the defending champion Sweden had the last throw in the 11th end. It seemed all was lost for the Canadians with Swedish skip Matilda Mattsson in the hack. Canada had two stones in scoring position, but with a gentle throw by Mattsson, the game was Sweden's to lose.

"I thought it was game over," said Suzanne Gaudet, Canada's skip. "I thought she was going to make it."

But the ice proved too "keen," or fast in curling terms, and her stone sailed through the house to the other side, leaving both teams in disbelief.

"I feel bad about it," said Gaudet. "Because I wouldn't want to be the one who missed that shot."

When asked what she said to Mattsson after the game, Gaudet said there wasn't much she could say. "I just shook her hand and said, 'Good game.' "

The 2001 World Junior all-stars were announced as well Sunday. For the men, Andy Roza, the U.S. skip, and Chris Becher, the U.S. second, were named to the all-star team, along with Sune Frederiksen of Denmark, the lead, and Mark Nichols of Canada as third.

For the women, Kelly Higgins of Canada was named all-star lead, with Lisa Lofskog of Sweden as second, Lorna Vevers of Scotland as third and Matilda Mattsson from Sweden as skip.

All-star awards are not only given for skill and statistics, but also for player/team interaction. The 2001 sportsmanship awards went to Stefanie Richard, women's vice skip from Canada, and Mike Adam, lead from Canada.


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