Day 8 - Junior Men Playoffs

Canada will now play in the Gold medal game on Sunday after beating Sweden Photo: WCF / Richard Gray

Canada won what turned out to be a one-sided Page 1 v 2 Play-off on Saturday morning, beating Sweden by 9-3 to move directly into Sunday afternoon’s men’s final of the World Junior Curling Championships 2012.

At the same time, Norway beat Scotland by 9-8 in the Page 3 v 4 Play-off, and they now go on to face Sweden in the sole semi-final to determine which of these two will contest the gold medal final with Canada. That leaves Scotland awaiting the loser of that match-up to play for bronze medals.

Brendan Bottcher’s Canadians were on the front foot from the start. They opened with two points in the first end and then scored three in the third after Sweden put themselves on the scoreboard with a single point in the second.

The teams swapped singles in the fourth and fifth ends, and then, in the fifth, Bottcher tapped out a Swedish counter to score three again. Once again, Sweden could only score one in response in the sixth and then, with Canada lying three points in the seventh end, the Swedes attempted to concede the game before Bottcher played his last stone of the end.

But, the umpires pointed out to the teams that the rules demand that eight ends be completed at this stage of the competition, so the spectators witnessed both teams throwing through all 16 stones to complete a blank eighth end and finally bring the game to a conclusion, with the score at 9-3, and the teams shaking hands for the second time.

Afterwards, a pleased Bottcher said, “that’s a great game for us moving into the final. The team came out and played great in front of me. We came out strong today, so we just need to come out tomorrow with the same team and hopefully we can win it.”

In response, 17-year-old Swedish skip Rasmus Wranå said, “we played OK until the seventh end, but the Canadians were so much better than us. We made some small mistakes and every time Canada took advantage, scoring deuces and three-enders. But we still have the chance to reach the final so now we concentrate on the semi-final.”

The Page 3 v 4 Play-off between Scotland and Norway was a much closer affair, before Norway emerged as 9-8 winners.
The Norwegians stole a single in the first end when a Scottish hit and roll went wrong and then rode their luck when Scottish skip just mis-judged a hit for five points in the second end and had to settle for three. Norway responded with two points in the third end to level the game at 3-3 and then stole a further three points in the fourth when Smith was light with his final draw.

As fortunes in the game swung from side to side, Scotland scored their second three of the day in the fifth end when Smith played a steady hit and stay, to level the game at 6-6. After the break, Norway scored two in the sixth end, after which Scotland blanked the seventh but could only take one point from the eighth.

They finally got back level in the ninth end when Norwegian skip Markus Høiberg wrecked on his way into the house to nudge out a Scottish stone. In a tense tenth end, the Scots built a strong position but Smith was heavy with his final stone and Norway scored the one needed to complete their win without having to play their final stone.

As they now face a semi-final against Sweden, Norway’s title hopes are still alive, and skip Høiberg said, “it feels very good to have won. It seems like both teams were struggling a lot, we struggled a bit less than them, so we were good enough”. On Scotland’s missed opportunity to take five in the second end, he said: “I don’t think it was a boost for us but perhaps it made a negative difference for them. There’s a big difference between three and five.”

Scottish skip Kyle Smith said, “I don’t know where lady luck was today, but she wasn’t with us. I had a big chance in the second end, but the last one seemed to curl more than I thought it would do. It’s gone now”. Looking forward to the bronze game he said, “we’re still playing for a medal and that’s what we wanted at the start of the week. It’s the wrong colour but we’re going to be up for it.”

Junior Men’s Standings after Playoffs
1. Canada 9-1 (play Gold medal Game)
2. Sweden 7-3 (play Semifinal)
2. Norway 7-3 (play Semifinal)
4. Scotland 7-3 (play Bronze medal game)
5. USA 5-4
6. Switzerland 5-4
7. China 4-5
8. Czech Republic 2-7
9. Italy 1-8 (relegated to 2013 EJCC)
10. Finland 0-9 (relegated to 2013 EJCC)

Men’s Semifinal at 18:00 CET – Saturday 10 March
Sweden v Norway - Live Webcast on www.wjcc2012.worldcurling.net

Men’s Gold Game at 13:00 CET – Sunday 11 March
Canada v winner of semifinal - Live Webcast on www.wjcc2012.worldcurling.net

Men’s Bronze Game at 13:00 CET – Sunday 11 March
Scotland v loser of semifinal

Curling fans around the world can follow live coverage of the event on http://www.wjcc2012.worldcurling.net and on the World Curling Federation’s YouTube Channel http://www.youtube.com/WorldCurlingTV In a new venture for this event, the action is being streamed globally through YouTube.

For mobile devices visit: http://m.youtube.com/worldcurlingtv

The live coverage and schedule is available along with news, live scores, galleries and video highlights on the event website: http://www.wjcc2012.worldcurling.net

Read additional comments from the players here: http://wjcc2012.worldcurling.net/news

Event Facebook Page: Hit ‘like’ to keep updated: http://www.facebook.com/wjcc2012sweden

Twitter hashtag for the event: #wjcc2012

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

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