LETHBRIDGE, Alta. – Kevin Koe and Team Canada showed a ton of patience and confidence in their game through some early struggles Sunday afternoon and it paid off handsomely with a 9-5 win over Joel Retornaz of Italy at the 2019 Pioneer Hi-Bred World Men’s Curling Championship, presented by Service Experts Heating, Air Conditioning and Plumbing.
Canada trailed 3-1 early and 4-2 at the fifth-end break before a strong second half by Koe, third B.J. Neufeld, second Colton Flasch, lead Ben Hebert, alternate Ted Appelman, team coach John Dunn and national coach Jeff Stoughton that included deuces in the sixth and eighth ends and a steal of three in the ninth that sealed the comeback.
Canada is now 3-0.
“There’s no quit and we did it at the Brier as well a couple of times so that gives you the mindset that it’s never over,” Koe said of his foursome’s ability to overcome deficits. “I mean a lot of times you won’t come back and win, but the odd time you will and the shots we had to make over the last couple of months we’ve made and that translates into wins.”
Retornaz, third Amos Mosaner, second Sebastiano Arman, vice-skip throwing lead stones Simone Gonin, alternate Alberto Pimpini and coach Marco Mariani gave the Canadians all they could handle, especially in the first half.
Koe was looking at a possible three in the first end until Retornaz made a runback double to cut that to one. Italy responded with two in the second and a steal of one in the third. The teams traded singles in the fourth and fifth – Koe was short on a draw for two in four and heavy on a draw in five– before Canada finally pulled even with two in the sixth when Koe made a good draw followed by a tap-back for the deuce.
“It wasn’t pretty,” Koe added of the win. “Myself I missed quite a few draws, but we played a great, perfect second half, getting our deuces and forces and obviously the big steal. A satisfying win for sure.”
Italy dropped to 1-2 with the loss
Also enjoying a satisfying win was Olympic champion John Shuster of the United States, who bounced back from a Saturday loss with a solid 6-3 win over SooHyuk Kim of South Korea (0-3).
“We were just a lot more comfortable out there today,” said Shuster, whose team improved to 1-1. “For us, we played okay yesterday. We just had to trust that we were going to have the ice more in our back pocket than we did yesterday and come out and throw with confidence, call the right shots and make the shots.”
Their comfort level soared with a deuce in the third end for a 2-1 lead followed by another deuce in six.
“We talked before the game we wanted to generate a deuce under the corner during the course of the game and that’s how we generated both our deuces,” said Shuster. “So to actually execute the goals we had before the game and knowing what we thought we needed to be successful and then to go out and be successful gives us a lot of confidence going forward.”
In the other afternoon games, Jaap van Dorp of the Netherlands (2-1) scored three in the 10th end to beat Bruce Mouat of Scotland (1-2) 5-4, and Yuta Matsumura of Japan (3-0) erupted for five in the second end and rolled to a 9-6 win over Magnus Ramsfjell of Norway (0-2).
The 2019 Pioneer Hi-Bred World Men’s Curling Championship continues with Sunday night’s draw at 7 p.m. MT.
Live scoring, standings and statistics for the 2019 Pioneer Hi-Bred World Men’s Curling Championship are available at wmcc2019.worldcurling.org/
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This story will be available in French as soon as possible at www.curling.ca/2019worldmen/?lang=fr