There were wins for Denmark, Italy, Japan, and Norway in Saturday afternoon’s opening session of men’s round-robin play in the Olympic Qualification Event, being held in Leeuwarden, Netherlands.
Two of these games went all the way to the last stone.
Against Germany, Japan took an early 2-1 lead when their skip Matsumura Yuta played a nose-hit in the third end. After this, in the ninth end, Germany’s skip Sixten Totzek could only score two when his final stone wrecked on the way into the house. This made the score 5-5.
Then, in the tenth end Matsumura made a draw to the back of the house – which was well-swept by his front end – to get inside a German stone and score the one point needed for a 6-5 win.
After this game, Matsumura said, “We had chances, but we just couldn’t get twos. When we did get two in the sixth end, we had control.” About his final draw to win, he added, “I had the confidence to pick out that last shot.”
The game between hosts Netherlands and Denmark also went to the last stone.
After blanking the third end with the score at 1-1, Denmark’s skip Mikkel Krause drew his last stone of the fourth end into the house to score one point and take a 2-1 lead.
Netherlands were always behind after this, until, in the ninth end their skip Wouter Goesgens scored two points to level the score at 4-4.
In the tenth end, Denmark’s Krause played a hit-and-stay on a Dutch stone to score one point and open his team’s campaign with a 5-4 win.
After this win, Krause said, “It felt really good to get out there. We had a good idea about the ice, and we just came out and played. We played well at the Europeans, and we surprised ourselves a little bit maybe, so just coming out here and playing, it feels good.”
Italy faced Korea in this session. The Italians took an early lead when in the second end their skip Joel Retornaz played a hit-and-stay to score two points and go ahead, by 2-1.
Italy then moved further ahead in the fourth end with a single-point steal, when Korea’s Kim Chang-Min hit, but saw his stone drift on through the house.
A further score of two points in the ninth end gave Italy a 7-3 victory.
Speaking later, Retornaz said, “We had a strong performance today and we had the game under control. It’s been a while since we played Korea, and we didn’t know what to expect. Every game is a game to win, but we knew that this was a strong team. We were focused on the ice, and we had control from the beginning, it’s good to start this way.”
The fourth game of the session saw Czech Republic play Norway. Going into the third end, Norway held a 1-0 lead.
In that third end Czech skip Lukas Klima made a mistake on a run-back attempt to give up a steal of two points that increased Norway’s lead to 3-0.
Norway led by 6-3 when the teams came to play the eighth end and Norway’s Steffen Walstad played a hit with his last stone to score two points and increase his team’s lead to 8-3.
Norway went on to win by 8-5.
Speaking afterwards, Walstad said, “It’s always nice to start with a win. It was tricky at the end, but we got off to a good start and we were able to stay in the lead. We’re in a groove and hopefully we’ll be getting more and more into that groove.”
Finland sat out this session.
Men Session one results: Italy 7-3 Korea; Germany 5-6 Japan; Netherlands 4-5 Denmark; Czech Republic 5-8 Norway
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