Canada needed an extra end to defeat a feisty Swiss squad on Tuesday morning and remain undefeated atop the standings at the Men’s World Curling Championship in Basel, Switzerland.
A draw for one in the eleventh sealed the victory for Glenn Howard, but it was a battle to the end. Swiss skip, Benoit Schwarz, the 2010 world junior champion, pushed the limits, making shot after shot and putting the pressure on the Canadians.
In a game that saw the lead traded back and forth throughout, the teams were tied 3-3 after four ends. In the fifth, Howard’s run-back attempt rolled inches too far giving Canada the single point and a 4-3 lead at the break. Switzerland took a single in sixth, and after Canada blanked the seventh, Schwarz stole one in eight to go ahead 5-4.
In the tenth end, Schwarz, who wasn’t even born when Howard won his first world championship title in 1987, shrugged off all the pressure to knock out two Canadian counters and keep his own stone in counting position, scoring one with less than 10 seconds left on the clock. That tied the game at 6-6 and forced the extra end.
“After a perfect tick shot by [lead, Craig] Savill and a hogged rock by the Swiss lead, the team kept it wide open,” said National Team Coach Rick Lang after the game. “Glenn coolly drew the four foot for the win.”
Lang was impressed with Schwarz’s play. “The very young Swiss skip made a lot of big pressure shots. He is one to watch in the future.”
After the game, Howard took responsibility for the close score. “That was my fault. I missed two or three shots that I shouldn’t have missed. I wasn’t sharp and those were bonehead shots. The best news is the guys made everything for me.”
Team Canada now sits alone at the top of the leaderboard, thanks to a 10-1 victory by the USA over previously unbeaten Sweden in a game that featured eight stolen points by the Americans.
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