Easy win leaves Canada alone atop standings at Pioneer Hi-Bred World Men’s Championship

LETHBRIDGE, Alta. – Kevin Koe and Team Canada jumped on winless Norway (0-4) for five in the third end and had Magnus Ramsfjell and his teammates shaking hands after six ends in a decisive 10-2 win that kept Canada (5-0) unbeaten at the 2019 Pioneer Hi-Bred World Men’s Curling Championship, presented by Service Experts Heating, Air Conditioning and Plumbing. It was the 23rd consecutive win for the team, dating back to the Alberta provincials where it won its final five games and then went 13-0 in winning the Tim Hortons Brier, presented by AGI. “Twenty-three, if that’s what we’re up to, that’s pretty good,” said Koe, who is seeking a third world title. “Considering the events they have come at, the provincials, the Brier, the worlds, a lot of pressure, a lot of great teams, a lot of big games so that’s what it’s all about. “It’s not about throwing high percentages or winning all-star awards, it’s about winning games, that’s what I focus on, getting the job done and we’ve done it for a while. But we’ll need a bunch more for sure. Odds are we’re not going to win all our games this week, but we just have to win the last one.” Koe, third B.J. Neufeld, second Colton Flasch, lead Ben Hebert, alternate Ted Appelman, team coach John Dunn and national coach Jeff Stoughton, took another step towards their goal with their impressive win Monday. Using the hammer – only the second time they’ve had it to open a game this week – Canada scored two in the first end, gave Norway one in the second and then effectively sealed their win with five in the third. “The five-ender, the boys made some really good shots,” said Hebert. “B.J. made two really good draws. They had kind of those hooked rocks in the top of the 12 that were hurting them and B.J. got around them both, one with the out (turn), one with the in (turn) and once he made those they were in big trouble.”

Team U.S.A. skip John Shuster calls instructions to his teammates. (Photo, Curling Canada/Michael Burns)

The teams traded singles in the fourth and fifth and Norway shook hands after giving up a deuce in six. “Anytime you can get a six-end game on a one-game day, (you get a chance to) heal the body, stay fresh, those are nice because we have a bunch of big games coming up on two-game days,” said Hebert. In the other afternoon games, Olympic champion John Shuster of the United States (3-1) gave up three in the ninth but bounced back with two in the 10th to nip Bruce Mouat of Scotland (1-3) 9-8, Peter de Cruz of Switzerland (4-0) had two deuces and stole two more points to turn back Jaap van Dorp of the Netherlands (2-3) 7-6, and Joel Retornaz of Italy (2-2) had three-enders in the third and seventh to beat Qiang Zou of China (0-4) 8-2 in seven ends. The results left Canada at 5-0 followed by Sweden, Switzerland and Japan at 4-0. The 2019 Pioneer Hi-Bred World Men’s Curling Championship continues with tonight’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/ TSN and RDS2 will provide complete coverage of the 2019 Pioneer Hi-Bred World Men’s Curling Championship. CLICK HERE for the complete schedule. For ticket information for the 2019 Pioneer Hi-Bred World Men’s Curling Championship, go to www.curling.ca/2019worldmen/tickets/ This story will be available in French as soon as possible at www.curling.ca/2019worldmen/?lang=fr