Finland pick up second victory at the Le Gruyère AOP Europeans

  • Finland secure their second win of the week © WCF / Stephen Fisher

On Tuesday morning at the Le Gruyère AOP European Curling Championships 2018 the men returned to the ice for their sixth session of round-robin play in the Tondiraba Ice Hall in Tallinn, Estonia.

Finland recorded their second win in a close 8-7 game against Russia that went all the way to an extra end.

Russia broke the deadlock in the second end and took control of the game, leading 3-0 after three ends. Later, in the eighth end, trailing by 3-6, Finland’s skip Wille Makela delivered a double-raise double take-out to score three points and level the match at 6-6.

Single points for both teams in the final two ends saw the game go to an extra end in which the Finns took the vital final point and secured an 8-7 victory.

Sweden remain unbeaten and top of the table after a 5-4 victory over Norway.

Sweden opened the scoring in the first end with skip Niklas Edin playing a delicate split shot on a Swedish stone at the edge of the 12-foot, bouncing it into scoring position along with his shooter, for two points and a 2-0 lead.

Sweden stole a single point in the second end, but Norway reacted with a three-point score in the third end to cut their disadvantage down to one point. The following seven ends were even, with three blank ends and both teams adding another two points to their account. This was enough for Sweden to hold onto their advantage for their sixth win.

“I think we actually played a little bit better the whole game,” Edin said after the match. “We put a lot of pressure on them and what kept them in the game was Steffen Walstad who made some beauties. I think if we missed one or two of those, the game is over early, but when he keeps making shots like that we need to play well. I think we’re controlling the games so far, so it feels really good.”

Netherlands faced Scotland with the latter coming out victorious in an 8-5 win.

The Scots took an early advantage with a three-point score in the first end, but Netherlands responded in the second end when Dutch fourth player, Wouter Goesgens, played a hit-and-stay for a single point to make the score 1-3.

A single point steal in the third end and three points in the fifth end, gave Netherlands a 5-4 lead at half time.

Then in the sixth end, Scottish skip Bruce Mouat [pictured below © WCF / Alina Pavlyuchik] had a hit-and-stay with his last stone to score two points and gain the lead back. Scotland left Netherlands without a chance from there and they eventually conceded at 8-5.

After the game, Mouat said, “we had a really good first end and managed to get a good score of three and then lost control a bit. But as soon as we came on after the half time break, it was almost as if we were a new team.

“We’re starting to put a few good performances together and it’s starting to show that we’re really here to play.”

Italy took their fifth win of the tournament in their game against Germany. The German team opened the scoring with one point in the first end, but Italy immediately took the upper hand afterwards.

Italian skip, Joel Retornaz played an angle-raise take-out to remove the German shot stone in the four-foot and score three points for a 3-1 lead. Germany struggled to retaliate and the Italians, stole three points in the third end.

The German team reduced their deficit by one point in the fourth end, but Italy sealed the win early when Retornaz was left with an open draw to the four-foot for a score of three points in the fifth end. Despite Germany gaining back another point, they conceded after six ends.

Retornaz said after the game, “they started very well, we were on the same level at the beginning and then we had a few good breaks. The three in the second end gave us a lot of confidence and they probably lost some. And then three again in the third end, it kills the game when you are so high in the score and they struggled getting their points when they had the hammer. Winning game after game is always bringing us confidence.”

Elsewhere in this session, Switzerland faced Poland. Switzerland took an early 2-0 lead and Poland responded with a single point in the second end to make it 2-1. Then in the third end, Swiss fourth player, Benoit Schwarz played hit out a Polish stone in the 12-foot to score three points and increase their lead to 5-1.

Poland responded with a point in the next end, but with Switzerland scoring another two points in the fifth end, the Swiss didn’t allow them to claw back their deficit. In the seventh end, Schwarz played a triple take-out, removing the Polish shot stone on the button to score two points and secure the game by 9-3.

Session six results: Finland 8-7 Russia; Norway 4-5 Sweden; Netherlands 5-8 Scotland; Italy 9-3 Germany; Poland 3-9 Switzerland

Standings after session six:

Sweden 6-0
Italy 5-1
Scotland 5-1
Germany 3-3
Norway 3-3
Switzerland 3-3
Finland 2-4
Russia 2-4
Poland 1-5
Netherlands 0-6

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