Canada begin defence of men's Olympic title with close fought win over Italy

  • Canada skip Kevin Koe Photo © WCF / Michael Burns

It took all the way to the last stone, but Canada opened their country's defence of the men's Olympic title with a 5-3 win over Italy in Wednesday morning's men's first round-robin session of the Olympic Winter Games PyeongChang 2018.

Great Britain's opening win was even tighter, as they were taken to an extra end before defeating Switzerland by 6-5. The other winners in the opening session were Sweden, who beat Denmark by 9-5, and United States, who had an 11-7 victory over hosts Korea. Japan and Norway sat out this session.

In the game between Canada and Italy, the Italians started with last stone advantage and blanked the first three ends, looking for a big score. They were forced to take just one point in the fourth end and Canada scored one point in the fifth end to tie the game 1-1 at the fifth-end break. Eventually Canada's skip Kevin Koe played a double take-out in the tenth end to score the one point that sealed his team's 5-3 win.

Switzerland had a chance to score two points and win their game against Great Britain in the tenth end, but their fourth player Benoit Schwarz just feathered a guard on the way in, meaning a score of one point for the Swiss to tie the game at 5-5 and force an extra end.

In this end, the British team's clear-out play left their skip Kyle Smith with the simple task of an open draw to anywhere in the house for one point and a 6-5 win.

Sweden scored three points in the fifth end of their game against Denmark for a 5-2 lead at the break. Then, in the sixth end, a steal of two further points for a 7-2 lead put them on the way to their eventual 9-5 victory.

United States opened strongly against Korea, scoring two points in the first end and then adding scores of three points in each of the third and fifth ends for an 8-3 lead at the break.

Although Korea responded with three points in the sixth end to reduce United States' lead to 8-6, the Americans remained in control and ran Korea out of stones in the tenth end for an 11-7 opening win.

Japan and Norway will open their campaigns in Wednesday evening's second round-robin session.

For flash quotes from the first day of the team competitions visit http://www.wcf.co/2GbYTa0

Men session one results: Denmark 5-9 Sweden; Canada 5-3 Italy; Korea 7-11 United States; Switzerland 5-6 Great Britain.

Standings after men session one (win-loss):

Canada 1-0
Great Britain 1-0
Sweden 1-0
United States 1-0
Japan 0-0
Norway 0-0
Denmark 0-1
Italy 0-1
Korea 0-1
Switzerland 0-1

For all the curling action from the Olympic Winter Games PyeongChang 2018 follow the World Curling Federation on Facebook (/WorldCurlingFederation) Twitter and Instagram (@worldcurling) and use the hashtags: #curling #PyeongChang2018