With two round robin games left in the competition, Team Canada sits in a tie for first with Norway at the World Junior Curling Championships in Oestersund, Sweden.
In their one game of the day, Brendan Bottcher and his team of Evan Asmussen, Landon Bucholz and Bryce Bucholz made the big shots when they needed to for a 9-5 victory over the Czech Republic.
Playing with hammer in an aggressive first end, Canada controlled the front of the rings with lots of rocks in play. Czech skip Lukas Klima was able to double out two counters, and Bottcher had to draw the pin for a single.
“In the second end, Evan Asmussen made a fantastic triple and followed it up with a perfect freeze,” reports National Team Coach Scott Arnold. “Brendan Bottcher followed suit and somehow we steal 2 for a 3-0 lead.”
In the third end, Klima had to settle for 1 when his final shot over curled. Some early mistakes in the fourth end required clutch shots by Asmussen and Bottcher, and Canada scored its deuce for a 5-1 lead.
“Finally a wide open end,” says Arnold about the fifth. “The Czech skip had to draw against four Canadian counters and was successful to score his single and trail Canada 5-2.”
In the sixth, Klima made an in-off double forcing Bottcher to a draw that came up short, giving the Czechs a steal of 1.
In the seventh end, Bottcher and Asmussen continued to outplay the opposition. On his last rock, only needing to make the rings, Bottcher drew the button for the second point and a 7-3 lead.
The Czech Republic scored their deuce in eight, but Canada answered with two points of their own when Bottcher made a slash takeout. With the score 9-5, the Czechs conceded.
Canada currently sits at the top of the leaderboard, tied with Norway with matching 6-1 records.
“Our final game against Norway could be the deciding factor,” says Arnold.
News, live scores, galleries and video highlights can be found on the World Junior Curling Championship website.