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Sweden gambles and loses to fall from unbeaten ranks at Pioneer Hi-Bred World Men’s Championship

LETHBRIDGE, Alta. – Sometimes you win when you gamble and sometimes you lose. Defending champion Niklas Edin gambled and lost Tuesday and was knocked from the ranks of the undefeated at the Pioneer Hi-Bred World Men’s Curling Championship, presented by Service Experts Heating, Air Conditioning and Plumbing.

Down by one in the sixth end, Edin and Team Sweden (5-1) elected to try an angle-raise double takeout and when he missed, it left Bruce Mouat of Scotland (2-3) a steal of one and a 4-2 lead that ultimately the Scots converted into a 6-5 win.

“We had a draw to the button for one or make that shot for two or three so, tough call, 50-50,” Edin said later. “When you miss it you feel like you have should have drawn, but we draw there we’re still trailing, like we were all game. We felt like it was a good opportunity to try to go for more than two and turn the momentum.”

Mouat, who beat Edin at the European championships, admitted he was a “wee bit surprised” by the call.

“But I’ve played Niklas enough to know that he’s really good at those angled runs and if he’s firing on all cylinders then he’s going to make that for three or four, so I wasn’t surprised to see him call it.”

The steal, he said was huge for his team, putting them two up, having hammer in the even ends “so it made us encouraged for the last four ends.”

Mouat still had to make a hit-and-stick for a single in the 10th to secure the win that keeps histeam solidly in position to make the six-team playoffs.

“A big part of championships I believe is momentum and hopefully we now have some momentum with that win,” he said. “And another game tonight, if we win that we’ll be back on track.”

Joel Retornaz and his Italy (3-2) teammates kept alive their playoff hopes with a solid 10-4 win over Magnus Ramsfjell of Norway (0-5). After giving up a steal of one in the seventh, the Italians responded with a huge five in the eighth, prompting the Norwegians to shake hands.

“We knew we had the hammer in eight … we didn’t expect to score a big end, a five-ender, but we knew we could score a deuce at least because we were performing very well,” said the veteran Retornaz, who is his sixth world championship. “You score two in the eighth, you go three up, so we were not scared at all.”

Italy has never made the world championship playoffs so achieving that goal, he said, would be huge for himself, his team and his country.

“It would be something very important. We know that going to a playoff could mean something big, could build confidence in the players and back home maybe the people will get inspired and we can help Italian curling to grow.”

South Korea skip SooHyuk Kim shouts to his teammates (Photo, Curling Canada/Michael Burns)

Personally, he said it would mean that hard work pays off.

“I’ve been around this game for a while now and it’s not only positive things because I’m taking away time from my family, friends and everything. But we had a bronze medal in the Europeans a few months ago and that cancels and erases everything, the effort and the hard times, so it would definitely mean something big to me to go to the playoffs because going to the playoffs means you’re one of the top teams in the world and I think we deserve that because we’re working very hard for that.”

In the only other morning game, Yuta Matsumura of Japan (5-1) drew the edge of the button in an extra end to complete his team’s comeback from a 6-2 deficit after five with an 8-7 win over SooHyuk Kim of South Korea (0-6)

The 2019 Pioneer Hi-Bred World Men’s Curling Championship continues with draws today at 2 p.m. and 7 p.m. (all times 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