Team Canada will have to take the long route to win a fourth straight gold medal at the Ford World Men’s Curling Championship, presented by Booster Juice.
Brad Jacobs and his team from Sault Ste. Marie, Ont. — third Ryan Fry, second E.J. Harnden, lead Ryan Harnden, alternate Matt Dumontelle and coach Tom Coulterman — bowed 11-7 to Sweden’s Niklas Edin on Thursday night at the Save-On-Foods Memorial Centre in Victoria, B.C., in the final draw of round-robin play.
Canada would have clinched first place and a berth in the Page playoff one-two game Friday at 7 p.m. (all times Pacific) against Scotland’s David Murdoch (8-3).
Instead, after a pair of losses on Thursday (Canada lost to Denmark’s Rasmus Stjerne earlier in the day), Canada finishes fourth with a 7-4 record and will play Denmark (also 7-4) in the Page playoff three-four game on Saturday at 11 a.m. The winner will move onto Saturday’s semifinal at 4 p.m., while the loser will play for the bronze medal Sunday at 11 a.m.
Sweden also finished with a 7-4 record, but earned the No. 2 seed based on round-robin wins over both Denmark and Canada. The Danes finished third by virtue of beating Canada.
The last time a team played in the Page three-four game and went on to win the gold medal at the World Men’s Championship? Eight years ago in this very same building when Team Canada’s Randy Ferbey did it.
“It’s just a real frustrating way to end the week,” said Jacobs, who won the Tim Hortons Brier last month by coming out of the Page three-four game. “We’re throwing the rock well and getting very little results. Just not making the right shots and it’s very frustrating. We’ll see what happens. We know how to fight our way out of this. It’s just sticking with it. We’re playing as hard as we can, we’re playing our hearts out, and it hasn’t been working out the last little while But, hey, we’ll play as hard as we can until the end.”
The Swedes, meanwhile, will play Scotland on Friday night in the one-two game, where the first berth in Sunday’s 4 p.m. gold-medal game will be decided.
Sweden struggled with consistency for much of the round robin, but saved its best for last, including a strong performance against Canada on Thursday. Still, making the one-two game seemed a long shot for much of the week, admitted Edin.
“Before the event, I would have said yes,” he said. “But in the middle of the week? No. We struggled all week, and I think that was the big motivation for us going into this game. We’ve worked on that, to grow stronger during the event, but this week we’ve been taking it a bit too far because we waited until the last round-robin game to really play a curling game. But I’m thrilled we’re in the one-two game. It’s lucky, of course. Seven and four is normally tight for even making the playoffs. But we’ll take it. The field is really close and we’re happy we can put on a good game before the playoffs.
The good news for Jacobs was that Canada won’t be back on the ice until Saturday.
“That is fantastic,” he said. “That makes me happy. Honestly, that made me real happy hearing that just now. Maybe we’ll have a night out with the guys and see if we can regroup and just keep plugging away.”
Meanwhile, Norway’s Thomas Ulsrud capped an inconsistent week with an emphatic 11-3 win over Russia’s Andrey Drozdov, but still finished out of the playoffs at 6-5. Norway opened the game with four in the first end, then added deuces in the third and fourth ends and put the game away with three in the sixth. The Russians finished the Ford Worlds with a 3-8 record.
“We played a really good game tonight,” said Ulsrud. “It’ a funny game; this morning I couldn’t make a shot against the U.S. and tonight I don’t think I missed a shot against Russia. That’s curling. It’s been a regular Norwegian week — it’s been a roller coaster. We’ve been rock bottom and up to the highest mountains. We just need to be more consistent in our games. That about sums it up.”
Switzerland’s Sven Michel, meanwhile, all but clinched a berth for his country in the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi with a 6-3 win over Jiří Snitíl of the Czech Republic. Both countries were in the mix for an Olympic berth, and with both teams finishing at 6-5 (out of the playoffs, the Swiss will get the nod based on their round-robin victory here. The Czechs, meanwhile, will likely have to play at a last-chance Olympic qualifying event in December.
“We had a really great game,” said Michel. “We were really nervous before that because we knew if Czech won the game we wouldn’t have had an Olympic spot for sure. We’re in a good way now.”
In the other Thursday night game, China’s Rui Liu was an 8-5 winner over Finland’s Aku Kauste. China finished with a 6-5 record while Finland finished at 2-9.
Besides Scotland and Denmark, Brady Clark of the U.S. (5-6) and Japan’s Yusuke Morozumi (3-8) had byes in the final round-robin draw.
For more event information, including rosters and the official draw, and to purchase tickets, go to: www.curling.ca/championships/worlds/.
Live scoring and standings are available at: www.curling.ca/scoreboard/?e=12.
TSN/RDS, the official broadcast partner of the Canadian Curling Association, will provide live coverage of Canada’s round-robin games, in addition to all playoff games. In French, all of the games will be shown live on RDS2.
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