Matt Dunstone’s Regina team couldn’t have asked for a better start to its first trip to a Curling World Cup.
Dunstone, backed up by vice-skip Braeden Moskowy, second Catlin Schneider and lead Dustin Kidby, improved to 2-0 on Thursday at the Jönköping Curling Club in Jönköping, Sweden, with a 6-3 victory over China’s Xiuyue Ma.
With the win, Dunstone’s Canadian team is alone in first place in Group B of the eight-team, two-pool competition with six points (regulation wins are worth three points; wins on a tiebreaker draw to the button are worth two points, while teams get a single point for losing on the tiebreaker draw to the button).
Close behind the Canadians are the Scots, skipped by Ross Paterson, who have two wins but are a point back of Canada. Canada takes on Scotland Friday at 2:30 a.m. ET.
“We weren’t as sharp as we wanted to be throughout the game, but it’s still pretty early in the week,” said Dunstone, whose team opened with single points in the first and second ends, and put the win away with deuces in the fourth and sixth ends. “So, if we can go out and not play our best and still pick up a win, we’ll take it.”
All teams will play a double round robin within their pools through to Saturday. The top teams in each group move into the finals on Sunday. In addition to prize money, the winning teams will earn a berth to the Curling World Cup Grand Final, May 8-12 in Beijing.
Dunstone and Co. are savouring their first experience at the Curling World Cup, but they’re well aware that there are high expectations of any Canadian team, and they’re also aware that there’s work to do once they return to Canada.
“There’s pressure that goes without saying, no matter the event wearing the Maple Leaf,” said Dunstone, who’s played in two World Junior Championships. “We have our provincials next week so what better tune-up for us? Obviously, we want to come out and win it, we know what kind of prize is there at the end and we want to book our ticket to Beijing as well.”
Meanwhile, Canada’s Winnipeg Beach, Man., mixed doubles entry of Kadriana Sahaidak and Colton Lott continued its impressive early play in Jönköping, ending the half of its schedule on top of the Group A standings with seven points. The Canadians split their games on Thursday, beating South Korea’s Hyeri Jang and Chiwon Choi 7-2 and losing 10-9 to Sweden’s Camilla Noreen and Per Noreen in a shootout to secure a single point.
Canada is trailed by Switzerland’s Martin Rios and Jenny Perret with six points and the Swedes with five points. Sahaidak and Lott will play the Swiss team on Friday at 6 a.m. ET.
In women’s play, Darcy Robertson’s Winnipeg team dropped to 0-3 and is all but out of contention for a berth in the women’s final on Sunday.
Robertson, with vice-skip Karen Klein, second Vanessa Foster and lead Theresa Cannon, lost both of her games on Thursday — 6-5 to China’s Yilun Jiang and 8-5 to Russia’s Anna Sidorova.
“We just enjoying our time here,” said Robertson. “It’s been great and Sweden has been awesome. The event has been fabulous and organized terrifically. We are really happy and proud to be representing Canada and we’re trying our best out there and just enjoying our experience.”
The Robertson team headed to Sweden coming off a grinding week at the Manitoba Scotties in Gimli.
“We had nine games and played Sunday afternoon and were on the plane on Monday morning at 6 a.m.,” said Robertson. “We did have a little bit of tiredness, but today I felt back to normal in the last game (against China) and played really well. We have got better as the tournament has gone on but having a busy week before we arrived hasn’t helped.”
China, Russia and Sweden’s Anna Hasselborg are tied for the lead in Canada’s group, all with 2-1 records.
The Canadian women will take on Sweden Friday at 6 a.m. ET — a game you can watch streamed at TSN.ca or on the TSN app.
View the full schedule and all teams competing at the third leg in Jönköping by CLICKING HERE.
For more information on the Curling World Cup, CLICK HERE.
Selected games at the third leg of the Curling World Cup will be broadcast on the World Curling Federation’s YouTube channel. TSN also plans to broadcast all three event finals on Sunday.