Defending champions Sweden beat Italy by 8-4 while Canada were 8-5 winners over United States in Saturday evening’s semi-final games of the LGT World Men’s Curling Championship.
These results mean that Italy and United States will play for bronze medals on Sunday morning and in the afternoon, Sweden will play Canada for gold medals and the world title.
In the game between Canada and United States, after blanking the first end, Canada’s skip Brad Gushue played a double take-out to open the scoring with two points.
In the third end, American skip Korey Dropkin responded with a raise take-out to score one and reduce the Canadian lead to 2-1. Canada led by 3-2 when the teams played the sixth end and when Canada’s Gushue hit for two, he built his lead to 5-2.
In the ninth, United States were trailing by 3-6 when Dropkin played a draw that scored two points after an umpire’s measure, to go into the last end trailing by just one point. In the last end, Dropkin’s draw didn’t curl enough, leaving Canada with two shot-stones for the win, 8-5.
After the game, Canada’s Gushue said, “The ice seemed okay. We had some bad throws early in the game, but we cleaned it up.”
He also spoke about the benefit of qualifying straight to the semi-final, thereby having a session off, saying, “It’s been a long year and a lot of pressure, so getting a rest for a few hours definitely benefitted everybody.”
He was also full of praise for his Swedish final opponents – “They’re playing well. They’re made for this event. They get to come here every year and enjoy it and play well. So, it’s going to be a battle tomorrow. The benefit that we have over playing them the last few times is that we have hammer to start.”
Italy versus Sweden
In the other semi-final, Sweden opened the scoring in the second end when skip Niklas Edin played a hit for two points.
By the fifth end, Sweden had a 3-1 lead when Edin played an angle raise take-out to score four points and give his team a game-changing 7-1 lead. Italy responded in the sixth end when their skip Joel Retornaz scored one point with a draw. Italy then had single steals in both the seventh and eighth ends to reduce Sweden’s lead to 7-4. However, in the ninth end, when Edin played a draw to score one more point to take an 8-4 lead, Italy conceded.
This win give Edin the chance to play for his fourth successive world title and his sixth world crown in total. After the game he said, “That was superb. We really focussed hard for the play-offs here. We were precise with what we did there.”
Speaking about the game-changing fifth end, he said, “We’re really happy that we took the opportunity to score the four points – a steal there and it could have been a totally different game. All in all, that was an outstanding performance by all the team members.”
“A sixth gold medal would mean a lot, particularly this season with Olympic gold. I think that we’re better than ever and if we win this one too, we would be satisfied with this whole Olympic cycle.”
Semi-final results: Canada 8-5 United States; Italy 4-8 Sweden
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