LETHBRIDGE, Alta. – Hump day was a bad day for Kevin Koe and Team Canada as they lost both their games at the Pioneer Hi-Bred World Men’s Curling Championship, presented by Service Experts, Heating, Air Conditioning and Plumbing.
After losing 9-3 to Japan in the Wednesday morning draw, the Calgary-based foursome was handed a 9-4 defeat by defending champion Niklas Edin of Sweden in the evening. That left Canada at 6-2 and boosted Sweden to 8-1 and a share of top spot with Yuta Matsumura of Japan (8-1).
“We’re still not all together where all four of us played our ‘A’ game,” said Koe. “We have to find a way for all of us to get clicking. Seems like we’ve had two or three out of four going and that’s not going to cut it against the top teams.”
Edin, third Oskar Eriksson, second Rasmus Wranå, lead Christoffer Sundgren, alternate Daniel Magnusson and coach Fredrik Lindberg, were forced into a single in the second end and after blanking three Koe got a deuce in the fourth. Edin missed a straight runback takeout and Koe made his hit-and-roll for two.
Edin responded in five with his own hit-and-roll to score two.
Moving at a surprisingly quick pace that had them playing almost a full end ahead of the other three games on the ice, Koe and Edin traded deuces in the fifth and sixth – Edin executing a nifty hit-and-roll to the full four-foot from the 1- foot in the fifth and Koe a hit-and-stick in the sixth.
Koe, backed by third B.J. Neufeld, second Colton Flasch, lead Ben Hebert, alternate Ted Appelman, team coach John Dunn and national coach Jeff Stoughton, got in big trouble in the seventh. And when Koe rubbed a guard with his final try for a double take-out, Edin had a routine draw for three. Another three in eight for the Swedes ended the game.
“We were playing pretty good, but I think Benny’s (lead stone) picked, staggered those guards and then we just didn’t make what we need to get out of it,” Koe said of the pivotal seventh.
For the Swedes, the win put them in the driver’s seat, having beaten both Japan and Canada.
“That was a real important game for both of us,” Edin said. “Having the head-to-head win against Japan as well we have it all in our hands, on top of the table.”
Despite the decisive win, Edin said that wasn’t his team’s best.
“No, but there was more pressure because we know they have all the weapons to make anything in any situation so you can’t take it easy, you have no margin for mistakes. Considering who we played it was probably our best win.”
Matsumura and his team jumped into a 6-1 lead but needed a last-rock hit and stick to subdue Bruce Mouat of Scotland (4-4) 7-6 to clinch a playoff berth (the Swedes, based on potential tiebreaker scenarios, still haven’t clinched).
Japan scored deuces in the second, fourth and fifth ends but gave up three in the sixth and had to scramble for the win.
Joel Retornaz of Italy (5-3) remained solidly in the playoff picture with a 9-4 win over Magnus Ramsfjell of Norway (2-7) while Marc Muskatewitz of Germany (2-7) scored three in the tenth end to nip Jaap van Dorp of the Netherlands (3-5) 7-6.
Going into the final two days of round-robin play Japan and Sweden are at 8-1, Peter de Cruz of Switzerland is at 7-1 followed by Canada and John Shuster of the United States at 6-2 and Italy at 5-3. The top six teams advance to the weekend playoffs.
The 2019 Pioneer Hi-Bred World Men’s Curling Championship continues with draws today at 9 a.m., 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/
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This story will be available in French as soon as possible at www.curling.ca/2019worldmen/?lang=fr