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Jennifer Jones leads Canadian curlers to playoffs at women’s worlds

Canada's skip Jennifer Jones (centre) delivers a rock as Dawn McEwen (right) and Jill Officer sweep during action against Norway at the World Women's Curling Championship in Sapporo, Japan, on Wednesday. Richard Gray / World Curling Federation handout / The Canadian Press

SAPPORO, Japan –┬áThe Canadian Press

Winnipeg’s Jennifer Jones, third Kaitlyn Lawes, second Jill Officer and lead Dawn McEwen trailed Japan after the opening end, but went ahead to stay with deuces in both the second and third ends.

Jones had earlier secured a guaranteed playoff spot with a 7-5 extra ends win over Germany’s Daniela Driendl.

That earlier victory over the Germans gave Canada sole possession of second place in the 12-team round-robin standings and secured a spot in the Page playoff 1-2 game.

Canada will compete in that game on Saturday against Switzerland, which tops the standings at 9-1 pending its final round-robin game later Thursday versus Sweden.

The final draw will also see 7-3 rinks China and Russia battling to determine third place. The loser will earn a berth in the 3-4 Page playoff on Friday and the loser will face Scotland in a tiebreaker to determine the second berth.

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“We’re really excited about that; it was our goal at the beginning of the week, to be in the one-two game,” said Jones following the victory over Germany.

“We won’t have (first-end) hammer (due to losing to the Swiss on Wednesday night), but we’re in that game, and we feel really good with the ice conditions.

“We just have to be a little sharper in a couple moments, but other than that, we’re really happy with how we’re playing right now.”

A Canadian team hasn’t won gold at this event since Jones did so in 2008 at Vernon, B.C. The five-time national champion made her world championship debut in 2005 and won a silver medal in 2010.

Canada leads all countries with 15 gold medals and 31 podium appearances at the world championship since 1979.

Sweden is next with eight gold and 23 total medals.

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