Denmark, Italy and Norway men top standings in Leeuwarden

Italy's Simone Gonin © WCF / Steve Seixeiro

Denmark, Italy and Norway all continued their winning way with victories in Sunday morning’s second session of men’s round-robin play at the Olympic Qualification Event, to share the lead at the top of the rankings.

Denmark were up against Japan, and, in the seventh end, the Danes had a 5-3 lead when their skip Mikkel Krause played a hit-and-stay to score three more points and extend his team’s lead to 8-3.

In the eighth end, Japan’s Matsumura Yuta attempted to come into the house off a winger, but his angle was wrong, and he failed to get the roll he was looking for.

This gave Denmark a steal of three points for a score of 11-3. At this point, Japan conceded the game.

Afterwards Danish skip Krause said, “That was huge for us. Japan is one of the tougher opponents here, so going out here and getting a convincing win is huge for us.”

Looking forward, he added, “We’ll just try our best again this evening against Italy.”

Italy faced Finland in this session, who were playing their first game, having sat out the opening men’s session.

Italy blanked the first end and then, in the second end, their skip Joel Retornaz opened the scoring with a draw for two points.

Italy scored two points again in both the fourth and seventh ends. Italy sealed their 9-5 win in the tenth end when an ambitious angled promote shot by Finnish skip Kalle Kiiskinen did not come off, to give Italy a steal of a further two points.

Speaking later, Italy skip Retornaz said, “Another ‘W’, that’s what we need if we want to go on, so we’re happy. They played a good game, we tried to put pressure on them, but they were able to stay in the game. They kept at our pace and, especially in the second half, they played very well.”

Norway were against Korea in this session. In the third end, with the score tied at 1-1, Norway skip Steffen Walstad played a nose-hit for two points and a 3-1 lead.

The game was tied at 4-4 after six ends and, in the seventh, Norway’s Walstad tapped out a Korean stone to score three points for a 7-4 lead.

Later, in the ninth, Walstad drew his last stone to score three points and complete a 10-6 win.

When Walstad came off the ice, he said, “That was a good game, much better than yesterday, it was solid. For a while there he made all the last shots, so he really kept them [Finland] in the game and made it difficult for us, but we pulled out the win and we’re happy about that.”

He added, “The ice was quite different from yesterday, it was miles better today – draw weight was much more predictable.”

The fourth game of the session saw Germany play Czech Republic. The Czechs had a 2-1 lead when, in the fourth end, Germany’s Sixten Totzek played a hit but rolled too far to give the Czechs a further steal of two points, for a 4-1 lead.

Germany fought back in the middle of the game, and two single-point steals in the sixth and seventh end tied the game at 4-4.

However, in the ninth, Totzek had the wrong angle on an attempted hit, to give the Czechs a steal of two points for a 7-4 win.

After his team’s first win, Czech skip Lukas Klima said, “Finally, a win! After yesterday, we were struggling with the ice and how to play on it. We were missing easy shots. But we were playing really solid in the first half there – in the second half we were slightly nervous. In the end we managed to win, which is great.”

More generally, he added, “It’s a long week, with a lot of great teams here. I think the event is really even, anybody can beat anybody, so every win counts, and I hope we’ll have a few more.”

Czech Republic versus Germany © WCF / Steve Seixeiro

Netherlands sat out this session.

Men Session Two results: Japan 3-11 Denmark; Korea 6-10 Norway; Czech Republic 7-4 Germany; Finland 5-9 Italy

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Leeuwarden, Netherlands

12 December 2021
Olympic Qualification Event 2021