Day 5 Review - Junior Men

USA took Norway all the way to an extra end Photo: WCF / Richard Gray

While Canada cruised to their sixth win of the week with a 9-5 win over the Czech Republic, Norway had to battle to an extra end 7-6 win over USA to join them at the top of the rankings after the men’s seventh round-robin session of the World Junior Curling Championships on Wednesday afternoon.

Brendan Bottcher’s Canada opened with a single in the first end and followed that up with a steal of two in the second end. They then scored twos in each of the fourth, seventh and ninth ends for their win.

Afterwards, Bottcher allowed himself the luxury of looking forward to the weekend Page Play-off section of the event. “That’s definitely one step closer, but we’ve still got a couple more games to go and we can keep it in our own hands if we just do what we need to do” he said, “I feel like we’re getting stronger each game and hopefully we can keep doing that and growing into it”.

By contrast, the Norway – USA game was much closer. Although Norway took the lead, scoring a single in the first end, Stephen Dropkin’s team hung on tenaciously. Despite this, they seemed down and out after eight ends, when Norway led by 6-3, but they first scored two in the ninth and then stole a single in the tenth to level the game. But, without last stone, the extra end proved just too far and Norway’s Markus Hoiberg was able to take the one point needed for victory.

Afterwards, Hoiberg said, “I think we did good for a while today but after the break we missed a lot of take outs and peels and they managed to get back in the game. In the last end I was a little uncertain because I had a draw in the tenth which I threw good, but it must have picked. I played the same split time in the extra end and I was a little bit uncertain about the ice, but I knew the split time and everything worked out”.

Elsewhere, Scotland and Sweden kept the chase up – in joint third place – with wins against Switzerland (8-6 to Scotland) and Finland (8-4 to Sweden).

Sweden’s win was really bad news for Finland, who remain without a win and are now in real danger of losing out on automatic qualification for next year’s Championships and slipping down to the European Curling Challenge.

As well as doing their own Play-off chances no harm at all, the victory by Scotland was a severe Play-off blow to Switzerland. This game was tight all the way until the Scots sealed victory in the ninth end when skip Kyle Smith managed to keep his first stone in the rings – just – after hitting out a Swiss counter, and then followed that up with a nose-hit for three. The Scots kept the tenth end tidy, and although the Swiss scored one with the last stone, the game was effectively over after the ninth.

Afterwards, Smith said, “we were more up for this game than we were for the one last night (a loss to Norway), and we played a good game today. That puts us in a really good position. We played really good ends in the eighth and ninth, and we put him under pressure.”

In the fifth game of the session, China beat Italy by 8-7 after an extra end. Italy had managed to keep their noses in front from the first end, when they scored two, but Chiuna levelled at 7-7 with a score of two in the tenth, and then stole victory in the extra end with a single steal.

Round 7: Czech Republic 5, Canada 9; Finland 4, Sweden 8; Norway 7, USA 6 (extra end); Scotland 8, Switzerland 6; Italy 7, China 8 (extra end).

Standings after 7 sessions:
Canada 6-1
Norway 6-1
Sweden 5-2
Switzerland 4-3
USA 4-3
China 3-4
Czech Republic 1-6
Italy 1-6
Finland 0-7.
*During the round robin teams with the same W-L record will be ranked alphabetically.

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The World Junior Curling Championships 2013 will take place in Sochi, Russia, from 28 February-10 March.

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