While idle Canada remained undefeated at the Ford World Men’s Curling Championship Wednesday night, most of the possible threats to a Canadian victory stumbled at the Brandt Centre.
Scotland’s Tom Brewster fell two games off the pace (7-and-2), losing 7-5 to hard-charging Norway while Switzerland’s Christof Schwaller fell 7-4 to Germany’s Andy Kapp and Sweden’s Niklas Edin added to a miraculous string of bad luck in losing 6-5 to Jiri Snitil of the Czech Republic in an extra end.
Edin appeared to have his match won and a 6-3 record in concrete until his last-rock nose hit in the 10th end picked on debris, rolled out and left Snitil with a second chance at stealing the decision in an extra end.
The Czech skip executed a tight, precise bury in the four-foot there, and Edin jammed on an attempted runback split double-kill.
“There was no way to draw the button,” Edin said afterward. “We had to run it straight back. He made a perfect shot, but he shouldn’t have had the chance. That pick was so unfortunate. The shot in the 10th was there all the way. It was on the nose until it picked big-time.”
Did Edin, who also suffered from a turnaround decision involving a replayed end earlier in the competition against Norway, feel a little snake-bitten.
“Not a little,” he said. “A lot.”
Scotland now faces idle France (6-and-3) Thursday morning in a game that could decide an opponent for Canada in the Page One-Two playoff match Friday night.
Four other survivors — Germany, Norway, Switzerland and Sweden — were alive with four losses.
Here’s the way it will unfold on Thursday:
Canada (9-0) — 8:30 a.m. China (4-5), 7:30 p.m. Norway (5-4).
Scotland (7-2) — 8:30 a.m. France (6-3), 1:30 p.m. U.S.A. (3-6).
France (6-3) — 8:30 a.m. Scotland (7-2), 7:30 p.m. U.S.A. (3-6).
Sweden (5-4) — 8:30 a.m. Korea (2-7), 1:30 p.m. Switzerland (5-4).
Switzerland (5-4) — 1:30 p.m. Sweden (5-4), 7:30 p.m. Korea (2-7).
Germany (5-4) — 8:30 a.m. Denmark (0-9), 1:30 p.m. Czech Republic (3-6).
Norway (5-4) — 1:30 p.m. China (4-5), 7:30 p.m. Canada (9-0).
“We stayed alive against really good Swiss guys,” said German skip Kapp, who is riding a three-game winning streak.
“It was important today. We lost to those guys twice at Euros. We said it’s now our time. None of these games are easy. We lost to Tommy Stjerne last year. And you don’t know how a game like that with him will go. The Czech team is playing well. No easy games, but we are in a good position. If we keep on playing like today, I hope we can get to 7-4.”
Norway’s Ulsrud, who has been battling from behind throughout, said he was finally happy with his team’s performance (against Scotland).
“This is the way we can play,” he said. “Trouble is, I have a really sore back from dodging bullets all week. Fortunately, none have hit me yet. But they’re getting closer and closer. We still have it in our hands now as long as we win the last two. But it’s not a good position we’re in. I’ll be honest.”
Ulsrud faces Canada at 7:30 pm in the last round.
The last time Ulsrud played in a Worlds tiebreaker was during his 1998 debut at Kamloops. He finished with a 5-5 record.
Scottish skip Brewster gave the Norwegians fair recognition.
“They’re a good team, you know?” he said. “Just one of the best in Europe. They played some good shots and we missed some half-chances. The steal in the sixth killed us. I think the weight was there (on a last-rock draw), we just didn’t sweep it at the right point. That was a key.”
It allowed Norway to take a 6-4 lead.
In one other Wednesday-night match, China’s Yansong Ji of Harbin scored two in the last end to shade Pete Fenson’s Americans 5-4.