Canada claim Grand Final glory in nail-biter
Team Kevin Koe landed gold in Sunday's championship game
Canada’s Team Kevin Koe have been crowned the inaugural Curling World Cup champions after beating China’s Team Zou Qiang 5-3 in the Grand Final gold-medal match.
The two-time world champions - consisting of skip Koe, third BJ Neufeld, second Colton Flasch and lead Denni Neufeld - kept their opponents on the back foot through the middle ends with steals of one in the third and sixth end and victory was sealed with a draw to the button from Koe in the last stone of the game.
“We’re super happy and it was a lot of fun out there,” said a jubilant Koe. “We’ve had a great year and it’s awesome to win here. All week we’ve been really impressed these Curling World Cup events and it feels good to win the Grand Final.
“I didn’t love [the draw in the final end] – it was my first in the game. But we were really fortunate to play our best here.
“The Chinese team played really great and we wish them the best going forward.”
The No.1 ranked team in the world will take $USD 39,000 back home to Alberta, in addition to the $USD 27,500 won in Suzhou.
After a tense opening couple ends inside the Shougang Arena, China began to falter with a decision not to blank the fourth end and Dexin Ba missing a draw shot in the sixth proving costly.
China, who were supported terrifically by a vocal home crowd throughout the contest, received a silver medal and $USD 25,000 for their performances this week.
“It was lost in the sixth end,” acknowledged Mike Harris, China’s national coach. “If we get the draw to tie it, then we can get the force through seven to be in good shape.
“A couple of calls I didn’t love like the draw in the fourth end instead of taking the hammer and getting two in the next.
“But they played really great under pressure and have gained so much experience from all of this week. We just need to keep working on things, mainly strategically, which is actually good because you can teach that.”