Scots wriggle off the hook to stay among leaders at world men’s
Teams Switzerland, Scotland and Japan, with an eye on a playoff spot, all helped their causes Tuesday morning with wins at the 2023 BKT Tires & OK Tire World Men’s Curling Championship in Ottawa.
The Scots’ win, a great escape against Team United States (2-4), was especially important. Skip Bruce Mouat and Co., with one loss already in the books, was reluctant to drop another one with so many teams bunched close by in the standings.
So the Scots, silver medallists at the 2022 Winter Olympics, did what they had to do to improve to a 4-1 record and earn some much-needed breathing room.
But the win didn’t come easily. U.S. skip John Shuster, with a chance to win in the 10th, slid too far with his final shot, a draw to the eight-foot facing two Scottish stones, to let the game slip away.
“It’s one of those ones where you start the game well and start to lose it,” said Mouat. “We’re just lucky we put the stones in the right spots in the last end and make John have to draw.”
Shuster saw his playoff hopes dealt a serious blow with the loss, which stalled the Americans’ comeback bid for a playoff spot and ended a two-game winning streak.
Team Scotland’s win was important for another reason. The Scots take on Team Switzerland in a key matchup tonight. The Swiss, skipped by Yannick Schwaller, improved to 5-1 and into sole possession of second place with an 8-4 victory over Team South Korea (1-5), skipped by Byeongjin Jeong.
The Scots took early control, grabbing a 4-1 lead after three, but Mouat made a critical error in the fourth when he rubbed a guard going after shot stone in the four-foot. It opened the door for Shuster who made no mistake on a double to score three and square up the game.
Things got worse for Mouat and Co. in the fifth when a series of misses left a house full of American stones, most of them bunched in and around the four-foot. Mouat, facing six stones, did well to tick-tick off two of them, slide to the back of the four-foot and give up only a steal of one.
The teams exchanged deuces on six and seven, but the Americans kept the pressure on and stole a single in the eighth when Mouat missed a long-range raise takeout.
The Scots tied it with two in the ninth, but the U.S. looked to have sealed the deal in the 10th until Shuster’s error with the hammer.
In the only other game Tuesday morning, Team Japan, after suffering its first loss Monday to Team Canada, rebounded nicely with a win over skip Anton Hood’s Team New Zealand (0-5). Japanese skip Riku Yanagisawa, all of 21 years of age, guided his team to a comfortable 10-5 win and moved into a third-place tie with teams Norway and Scotland, all with 4-1 records.
The Japanese made short work of the Kiwis with three points in the first end and another four in the third to race away to a 7-1 lead. It was over after six ends.
Skip Brad Gushue’s Team Canada (3-2), tied with Team Italy for sixth place, swings back into action in the afternoon with a game against Team Czech Republic (2-3).
The top six teams qualify for the playoff round, with the top two receiving a bye while the remaining four play in the first round. The medal games will be played Sunday.
The 2023 BKT Tires & OK Tire World Men’s Curling Championship continues Tuesday with draws at 2 p.m. and 7 p.m. (all times ET).
Live scoring, standings and statistics for the 2023 BKT Tires & OK Tire World Men’s Curling Championship are available by CLICKING HERE.
TSN and RDS will provide coverage of the 2023 BKT Tires & OK Tire World Men’s Curling Championship. CLICK HERE for the complete schedule.
For ticket information for the 2023 BKT Tires & OK Tire World Men’s Curling Championship, go to www.curling.ca/2023worldmen/tickets/
This story will be available in French as soon as possible at www.curling.ca/2023worldmen/nouvelles/?lang=fr