Brendan Bottcher and his team of Evan Asmussen, Landon Bucholz and Bryce Bucholz assured themselves of a gold or silver medal at the World Junior Curling Championships with a decisive 9-3 victory over Sweden on Saturday morning.
Playing in the 1-2 Page Playoff game, Canada started with hammer by virtue of its first-place finish. The first end saw Bottcher take the deuce with an open hit on a Swedish freeze attempt that went a bit wide.
Swedish skip Rasmus Wrana managed to score a single in the second, executing a fantastic raise-takeout on a Canadian stone on the button, surrounded by four Swedish rocks. Canada answers with a single, and a 3-1 game after three.
“The fifth was another fun-filled end in the four foot,” says National Team Coach Scott Arnold, who is with the team in Oestersund, Sweden. “Sweden’s last rock rubbed the Canadian shot rock, allowing Bottcher an open hit for 3 and four-point lead going into the break.”
Taking control, Canada dictated an open end, forcing Sweden to nose hit a Canadian stone in the four foot for a single. In the seventh, facing three Canadian counters and Bottcher about to throw a fourth, the Swedes concede – only to be told that they must play at least eight ends at this level of the competition.
“A bizarre end to this game,” says Arnold. “Both teams agree to throw all of the stones through to complete the game. Having a little fun, the Swedish skip slides all the way down the ice with the rock still in his hand and lands on the button.”
Team Canada plays for gold on Sunday morning and is guaranteed a medal.
“That was a great game for us moving into the final,” said Bottcher after the game. “The team came out and played great in front of me. We came out strong today, so we just need to come out tomorrow with the same team and hopefully we can win it.”
News, live scores, galleries and video highlights can be found on the World Junior Curling Championship website. The game can be seen live on the World Curling Federation YouTube channel at www.youtube.com/worldcurlingtv at 7 a.m. ET Sunday morning.