With the business end of the event fast approaching, Canada took one step closer to the top qualifying spot for the weekend medal games at the Ford World Men’s Curling Championship in Regina, Canada, scoring a 9-4 win over the Czech Republic in Wednesday morning’s twelfth session of round-robin play.
This was Canada’s eighth straight win. It featured a big score of four in the third end, and this unbeaten record keeps them two wins clear of the chasing pack as they close in on a final top-of-the-table position.
Afterwards, Canadian skip Jeff Stoughton said, “that was a pretty good game. I missed a couple of shots that I would like back but other than that, we got the win, that’s all that matters. We now want to beat Sweden and that gets us into the 1 – 2 (Page Play-off) game. It would be really comfortable to get to nine wins and that’s our goal now”.
Meanwhile, as they continued to put together their best campaign of recent years, France did their qualification chances no harm at all, when they beat fellow play-off contenders Switzerland by 8-7, thanks largely to a score of four in the sixth end.
This moves them onto six wins, alongside Scotland, who sat out the session. French skip Thomas Dufour admitted that they had now exceeded their pre-event hopes. “That was very important. That was the game that may bring us more than we expected at the beginning of the worlds, maybe the tie-breakers or the play-offs. We thought we would be in the middle of the pack and, with three games to play, we are still in the middle of the pack - to my mind. We will see what happens”.
Despite this loss, Switzerland remain in strong Play-off contention. After his loss, Swiss skip Christof Schwaller conceded, “tough game, one bad end – sixth end, we were too heavy with our rocks. But, we’re still alive. We know we have to win two or maybe three games to get into the Play-offs – that’s the goal. Our target was to make the play-offs. We know that’s a high target and we’re working on it – we’re still there”.
Norway had a six end 9-2 cruise over winless Denmark to give them their fourth win so far and keep their slim Play-off chances alive, but USA’s 8-4 victory over Korea was only their third win of the week, and, welcome as it was for a USA team that has struggled, it was too little too late in terms of keeping American medal hopes alive.
After his must-win game against Denmark, Norway skip Thomas Ulsrud said, “we got off to a good start. Actually, we haven’t been able to show it this far in the tournament, but we’re actually a good hitting team”.
He added, “it gets tougher now: tonight - Scotland, then China, then Canada. It’s a long road and it’s tough, but I think we’re still in it, so we just have to keep on fighting. It’s like playing a single match tournament”.
Standings after 12 sessions:
Czech Republic 2-6
Session 12: Denmark 2, Norway 9; USA 8, Korea 4; Czech Republic 4, Canada 9; Switzerland 7, France 8.
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Scores mirrored on: http://results.worldcurling.org/Championship.aspx?id=396
Event websites for news & photos: http://www.curling.ca/championships/worlds/