Sweden beat Canada by 8-6 in Sunday afternoon’s final of the LGT World Men’s Championship.
This was a fourth successive world title for this Swedish team – skip Niklas Edin, third Oskar Eriksson, second Rasmus Wraana, lead Daniel Magnusson, alternate Christoffer Sundgren, supported by coach Fredrik Lindberg – and a sixth world title for Edin himself. They now become the first men’s team to win Olympic and World titles in the same year.
Canada opened the scoring when their skip Brad Gushue played a nose-hit for one point. In the second end, Sweden’s skip Niklas Edin missed a tough hit, to give up a steal of two points that extended Canada’s lead to 3-0.
However, in the third, Edin was able to put Sweden onto the scoreboard when he played a gentle hit and stay to score two. In the fourth end, Canada’s Gushue wanted to tap a Swedish stone off the button to score two, but his stone came in slightly wide, giving Sweden a steal of one, to level the score at 3-3.
In the fifth end, Gushue had to draw inside three Swedish stones sitting in the house to score one point and take a 4-3 lead into the break.
Sweden took the lead for the first time in the game when Edin played a hit and stay for two.
Both teams used their time-outs in the seventh end. There were seven stone clustered around the four-foot ring when Canada’s skip Gushue came to play his last shot. The Canadians were looking for a big score, but Gushue’s raise only produced one point to level the game at 5-5.
In the eighth end, Edin hit out two Canadian stones, but could not hold his own, to end up scoring one point through another of his stones already in the house, to lead again, by 6-5.
Canada then tried to blank the ninth end, but Gushue nosed the shot stone to level the game at 6-6 and crucially hand last stone in the tenth to the Swedes.
In the tenth end, Sweden had two stones in counting positions when Gushue played his last. His attempted draw didn’t curl, so Sweden scored two from the end without having to play their last stone, to win by 8-6 and take the title.
After this triumph, Edin said, “We’re very happy. That game was very tough, difficult conditions to play on, so I’m really happy that we could fight as hard as we did, and really try to figure out every spot. That meant we could play as smart as we can, not making the wrong mistakes at the wrong time.”
He added, “That game could have gone either way. At the beginning they were all over us, but we really tried to hang in there and play our rocks. We did that pretty well in the last half of the game and took our chances when we got them, so I’m super proud of the team, they really stuck in there, not getting too frustrated.
Reflecting on a season that sees his team become Olympic champions as well as four-times world champions, he said, “I think we’ve done a lot of special things in the last couple of years. It just feels amazing what we’ve achieved, and it’s come through hard work and really talking about ‘what-we-want-to-do’ out there.”
This was a third world medal for this particular Canadian team – skip Brad Gushue, third Mark Nichols, second Brett Gallant, lead Geoff Walker, alternate EJ Harnden, and coach Jules Owcher.
After this loss, Gushue agreed with Edin, saying, “It could have gone either way. As a Canadian team, it’s hard to get here but it’s been a great season (for us). Niklas is a great team, and we ‘ve had some good battles against them.”
Earlier in the day Italy won their country’s first-ever bronze medals and, as a bonus, during the closing ceremony, their lead player Simone Gonin was announced as the winner of the Collie Campbell Memorial Award.
This Award recipient is selected by the curlers participating in the event, to honour the curler who, “by deed and action in the course of their performance, best exemplify the traditional curling values of skill, honesty, fair play, friendship and sportsmanship.”
Bronze results: Canada 6-8 Sweden