14 September 2018

Canada on brink of final after another Koe masterclass

Canada one win away, shootout drama for Sweden and Norway lead Group A

Kevin Koe provided yet another example of his staggering skillset as Canada won a tense match with Team De Cruz which puts them just a point away from a place in the Curling World Cup men's final.

Koe's nerveless raise takeout with the final stone earned four points to settle a tight encounter which the Swiss rink had led 4-3 going into the final end.

Canada now need one more win against Team Mouat first thing on Saturday morning to seal a place in Sunday's final.

Two-time world champion Koe said of that nerveless final shot: "It wasn't an easy one but luckily I had played one right in the same spot a couple of ends earlier, so I had a good idea what it would do. I threw it pretty good and got the line call right. That's a big win for us."

Amazingly, Koe revealed his new-look line-up had only one practice session before boarding the plane for Suzhou.

"It's been pretty natural between us so far," he said. "We're learning as we go but it's good for us to play close games against one of the best teams in the world like Switzerland. That can only help us going forward."

Team Mouat are just about holding on to Canada's coat tails in Group B after their 9-2 win over Japan made it three wins out of four.

"I'm pretty glad that we’re back in some sort of form and hopefully we’ll play better tomorrow when we face Canada," said the skip.

A very special reverse kick runback for four in the fifth end was the killer blow. "That was nice!" said Mouat the World Championship bronze medallist, modestly. "We were quite clinical with our angles there in setting it up and I was glad to make that one."

In Group A, Norway lead on nine points after their 7-3 win over China which was tight all the way until Steffen Walstad stole four in the seventh end.

"It was a good game from both teams," said Walstad, who's a journalist and photographer by trade.

"We got really lucky in the seventh end when he had a shot to make it really tough for us to score. That side of the ice just kept getting straighter and straighter, first it caught me then it caught him. The ice is tricky, and we are missing a lot but still I find the games much more interesting when there’s so much curl. So, I prefer this, even though it’s really unpredictable."

Team Edin kept themselves alive in Group A after a dramatic last-stone shootout victory over Team Ruohonen.

In a topsy-turvy game, United States grabbed two in the final end to force only the second shootout of the competition. Greg Persinger went first and left his stone some way short of the house, leaving Christoffer Sundgren to draw just past the button for a 9-8 win.

It has been a turbulent week for Team Edin, who at least had second Rasmus Wranaa back in the side today after his back injury forced them to play with three on Thursday.

"We have a lot going on!" said Edin. "With the ice being a bit tricky, three players doesn't help when it's frosty and heavy. Then obviously I haven’t been training much this summer because of surgeries and stuff.

"I’m kind of surprised we’re still in it and still have a chance in the last few games. If we can do that we’re still going to be happy with our performance after everything that’s happened."

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