April 8, 2012
Sweden and Norway played out a tense bronze medal game that went all the way to an extra end at the World Men’s Curling Championship 2012 in Basel, Switzerland on Sunday morning. Sweden emerged victorious winning 9-8 and picking up the bronze medal for the second year in a row.
The Swedes dealt the first blow in the game, when skip Sebastian Kraupp played a tap-up to score two in the first end. Norway responded with a single point in the third end and, in the fourth end, Norwegian skip Thomas Ulsrud played a remarkable quadruple clear-out of Swedish stones. But even that could not stop the Swedes from scoring two points in the end and taking a 4-1 lead.
But Ulsrud brought his team right into contention when he hit for two points in the fifth end to narrow the Swedish lead to 4-3.
However, the pendulum swung in Sweden’s direction again in the sixth end when Kraupp hit to clear out two Norwegian stones, score three points and take a 7-3 lead. Despite Sweden’s substantial lead, Ulsrud fought back again and scored two points in the seventh end as he hit out a Swedish stone.
Ulsrud then stole a single point in the eighth end and finally managed to level the game for the first time in the tenth end when he drew a second stone into the house to force an extra end with the score at 8-8.
However, the Swedes had the crucial last stone advantage in the extra end and eventually, Kraupp used this to win the game and the bronze medals with a straightforward draw into the rings for one point and a 9-8 victory.
The Swedish team, which also includes Fredrik Lindberg as third, Oskar Eriksson as second (vice-skip) and Viktor Kjaell as lead, have had to contend with injury to their regular skip Niklas Edin throughout the week. Afterwards, a smiling Kraupp said: “This medal shows how solid we are as a team. We’ve been up and down all week, so to have a medal here is excellent.”
Speaking about the game itself, he said: “It’s always tight when you play Ulsrud’s team, but when we took three in the sixth, it was important. You have to focus for the whole game. I tried to stay as calm as I could in the eleventh end - I’m not used to playing in this position - but I figured out how to play the draw.”
Thinking about his regular skip Edin, Kraupp said: “He has been in a fight all week with his back. It’s been a long struggle for the whole team, and for him especially.”
Norway, skipped by Thomas Ulsrud, with Torger Nergård as third (vice-skip), Thomas Løvold as second for this game and Håvard Vad Petersson as lead, finish in fourth position following this defeat. A subdued Thomas Ulsrud said afterwards: “It’s the game you hate to lose, but it’s to the Swedes credit – they played well.” He added: “They played a good game from the start, we managed to fight back but in the end it wasn’t enough. To play in an extra end without hammer, you have a slim chance, but against a good team on good ice, you’ll lose eight out of ten times.”
Bronze Medal: Norway 8, Sweden 9.
Standings after Bronze Medal game:
Canada 11-1 (to play gold medal game)
Scotland 9-4 (to play gold medal game)
3. Sweden 10-5 (Bronze medal)
4. Norway 8-5
5. New Zealand 7-5
6. China 6-5
7. Denmark 6-5
8. USA 4-7
9. Switzerland 3-8
10. France 3-8
11. Germany 2-9
12. Czech Republic 2-9