Canada, skipped by Kevin Koe of Edmonton, exacted revenge in a hurry on Norway’s Torger Nergård, 11-5 in the Page Playoff 1 vs 2 game Friday evening to advance to Sunday’s final of the Capital One World Men’s Curling Championship in Cortina d’Ampezzo, Italy.
The match-up between the top two teams in the round robin fizzled quickly, after Koe took three in the second and stole a deuce in the third for an early 5-1 lead. But it was the fifth end which delivered the knockout blow, as Koe counted five for a 10-2 lead at the break. The game eventually was halted after eight ends, when Norway shook hands.
The victory moved Canada into Sunday’s gold medal final, as Koe, making his World debut, seeks a leading 32nd title for his country since the championship began in 1959 in Scotland. Canada last won the world men’s in 2008 in Grand Forks, North Dakota, courtesy of skip Kevin Martin.
Canada had dropped its final round robin game to Norway, 9-8, resulting in a second place finish with a 9-2 mark, behind Norway’s stellar 10-1 record. But Koe evened the score on Friday in a far more important encounter to advance to the final.
Afterwards, Koe said, “I wasn’t too worried after our game yesterday. It wasn’t our best game but we’ve been good at bouncing back after losses and we got off to a really good start today and played well.
“We’ve always played well in the bigger games all year, so one more to go,” he added. “We don’t have any preferences (about who we face in the final). I’d be a little surprised if it’s not Norway, though. They’ve been the best team all week, but all three are pretty good. It’s been quite a year and now it’s one more to go. It’d be nice to round it off with another big win and become world champs.”
Meanwhile, Nergård explained, “We got off to a bad start. We had to take some chances after they stole the two, and when they got the five a couple of ends later, that was about it. We just didn’t execute well and they played phenomenally.”
Norway now goes to Saturday’s semi-final, where it will meet the winner of the morning’s Page Playoff 3 vs 4 game , featuring United States (Pete Fenson) against Scotland (Warwick Smith).
Both the semi-final and final will be telecast live across Canada on TSN. Saturday’s semi-final airs at 10:30 am ET, while Sunday’s final gets underway at 10:00 am ET.