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Canada pulls into second-place tie at Pioneer Hi-Bred World Men’s Curling Championship

LETHBRIDGE, Alta. – Kevin Koe of Canada (8-3) leaped into a 7-0 lead after two ends and went on to a 10-3 win over Peter de Cruz of Switzerland (8-3) to climb into a tie for second place at the Pioneer Hi-Bred World Men’s Curling Championship, presented by Service Experts, Heating, Air Conditioning and Plumbing.

Koe, seeking a third world title, almost had four in the first end when he tried a triple take-out, but one Swiss stone hung around and cut the count to two. But the Canadians got a huge break in the second when Swiss vice-skip Benoît Schwarz, who throws fourth stones and had missed a runback double with his first shot, had his second stone, a draw, pick and wreck on a guard, leaving Canada to steal five.

“He was heavy, I clocked it heavy, looked like it was going to be a steal of one, up 3-0, so obviously a big break for him to get the pick and us to get five,” said Canadian lead Ben Hebert, who shot a perfect 100 per cent in the game. “Hey, you need breaks. We haven’t had a lot of breaks this week, to be honest, so I’m thrilled to get a couple.

“We played real good. First end we were all over them. Kevin missed that triple for three or four by millimetres. So, good comeback win for us after last night’s disappointing loss.”

The win was crucial for Koe, third B.J. Neufeld, second Colton Flasch, Hebert, alternate Ted Appelman, team coach John Dunn and national coach Jeff Stoughton. A fourth loss would have put their chances of moving into the playoffs that begin Saturday in jeopardy. The win still gives them a shot at second place and a bye into the semifinals.

“We haven’t clinched a spot yet, eh? I thought maybe that win would have done it. If we win tonight we must get a spot, eh?” chuckled Koe. “We’ll come out tonight (against the Netherlands) and take care of business and we might even be able to get as high as second, so we still have a lot of upside. That was a big win with Switzerland ahead of us in the standings.”

Swedish skip Niklas Edin watches his team’s shot on Friday. (Photo, Curling Canada/Michael Burns)

Defending champion Niklas Edin of Sweden (10-1) was in a dog-fight with Olympic champion John Shuster of the United States (7-4) until the Swedes cracked a game-changing four in the seventh end and went on to an 8-4 win. That clinched first place for the Swedes and left the U.S. having to win their final game, against Norway, to guarantee a playoff berth.

Marc Muskatewitz of Germany (4-7) beat Qiang Zou of China (2-9), 6-4 and Sergey Glukhov of Russia (4-7) scored four in the first end but needed a last-rock double takeout in 10 for an 8-5 win over Magnus Ramsfjell of Norway (2-9)

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