German men record first win at the Olympic Qualification Event

Germany record first win © WCF / Steve Seixeiro

On Tuesday (14 December) morning’s fifth session of men’s round-robin play in the Elfstedenhal in Leeuwarden, Netherlands, Germany recorded their first win of the week.

This session also saw wins for Czech Republic, Italy and Norway.

Both Finland and Germany came into this session looking for their first win of the week and it took an extra end to separate the sides.

Finland and Germany were level at 2-2 going into the fifth end, when Germany took control of the game with a score of three points for a 5-2 lead at the break.

Finland fought back immediately with a single point in the sixth end, then a steal of two points in the seventh end to level the score, at 5-5.

After a blank in the eighth end, the teams traded single points to take the game to an extra end.

Facing two German counters, Finland skip Kalle Kiiskinen played a precise double take-out while also keeping his shooter in play with his final stone of the extra end to sit shot stone. Then, Germany skip Sixten Totzek was left with an open hit-and-stay to score two points, and secure their first win of the week, by 8-6.

After their extra-end win, Germany skip Totzek said, “It was really difficult. I would say we played better at the beginning, but didn’t use our chances. We had a chance for four or five and didn’t use it.”

Czech Republic faced Korea and applied pressure to their opponents from the first end, forcing a steal of three points.

Czech Republic scored two points in the third end, and followed that up with a steal of four points to take control of the game and lead 9-1 after just four ends.

Korea began their fightback with a single point in the fifth end. Then they followed that with a steal of two points in the sixth end after Czech Republic skip, Lukas Klima was heavy with his final draw when facing two Korean counters.

A score of three points by Czech Republic in the ninth end sealed their third win of the week to move into joint third place.

Afterwards, Czech skip Lukas Klima said, “Yesterday, we had a tough loss, we played bad and after that loss we had our backs against the wall. We really needed to win today, but after the stones were done [papered by the ice makers] yesterday evening, we felt way more comfortable, we made way more shots, we played really solid and I liked it. I think we were in control, I’ve only made a very bad miss in six which gave them a steal of two, but other than that, we felt really in control of the game.”

Italy maintained their unbeaten run this week in a close battle with hosts Netherlands.

Italy opened the scoring with a single point in the first end, before the teams traded two-point scores for the next three ends.

Italy then stole a single point in the fifth end to take a 5-3 lead into the break.

Netherlands levelled the game at 6-6 in the ninth end with a score of two points. Then with the final stone of the game, Italian skip Joel Retornaz played a perfect draw to the button for the single point and the 7-6 win.

After the game, Retornaz said, “We didn’t expect to be tied in the tenth, because we played a good ninth. But he made two great shots in the ninth and the game was tied. We hoped to have a better situation at the end of my two shots, and it didn’t happen, so I knew I had to bring this home for my team.”

Italy versus Netherlands © WCF / Steve Seixeiro

Norway defeated Denmark in the final game of the session, by 7-4 to stay at the top of the table unbeaten on five wins.

Norway controlled the early ends in the game, scoring two points in the first and third ends, while holding Denmark to single-point scores in the second and fourth ends.

Norway stole a single point in the ninth end to take a 7-4 lead before running Denmark out of stones in the tenth end.

The two undefeated men’s teams — Italy and Norway — will face each other in Tuesday’s evening session as both chase the top spot in the round robin and the direct entry in the Beijing 2022 Olympic Winter Games.

Men Session Five results: Netherlands 6-7 Italy; Finland 6-8 Germany; Korea 6-14 Czech Republic; Norway 7-4 Denmark.

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Leeuwarden, Netherlands

14 December 2021
Olympic Qualification Event 2021