Korea men open with win at home World Juniors

  • Korea's Ki Bok Lee Photo: © WCF / Tom Rowland

In Thursday (16 February) afternoon’s opening session of men’s round-robin play, USA beat defending champion nation Scotland by 7-6 in the first extra end game of the VoIP Defender World Junior Curling Championships 2017.

The other opening session winners, at the Gangneung Curling Centre, in Gangneung, Republic of Korea, were Canada, Switzerland and, in front of a pleased home crowd, hosts Korea.

USA and Scotland were close all the way through the game, with the teams level at 2-2 after six ends. But, in the seventh end USA managed to carve out a four-point steal in what looked like a game-winning 6-2 lead. Scotland fought back and, with steals in both the ninth and tenth ends, when USA skip Andrew Stopera had a complete miss, they forced the extra end with the teams tied at 6-6. Eventually, Stopera made amends to score the one point needed for his team’s 7-6 win.

In a high-scoring game between Sweden and Canada, the lead changed hands five times before Canada stole two points in the tenth end for a 12-8 win.

Switzerland dominated their game against Italy, going into the fifth end with a 4-0 lead. Italy narrowed the gap with a score of two points in the fifth end for a half-time score of 4-2 in Switzerland’s favour. Switzerland remained strong in the second half, scoring twos in both the sixth and eighth ends before Italy conceded the game, giving Switzerland an 8-3 victory.

Norway blanked the first two ends in their game against Korea before opening the scoring with a single point in the third end. Korea, then scored two points in the fourth end for the lead, and this game stayed close until the Koreans scored three points in the ninth end for their 6-4 win.

They said it

Jan Hess; skip, Switzerland (after 8-3 win over Italy): “It was an amazing start with a three-point lead in the third [end]. We had a good start and yeah we came good in the game. It was an amazing feeling to play our first game at the World Juniors. The ice was as swing as we expected it to be. We like the ice.”

Tyler Tardi; skip, Canada (after 12-8 win over Sweden): “It’s always nice to start with a win. We were just getting used to the ice for the first bit, we weren’t too concerned with winning or losing. I think we accomplished that goal and are feeling happy with how we did. [The ice] was a little bit faster today. But, I thought we got used to it pretty quick so that was a plus for us.”

Andrew Stopera; skip, USA (after 7-6 win over Scotland): “It’s good – whenever you get a win it’s good. It was tough but you know we made enough shots and they played really well. A few more here and there but it’s always good to get your first win and to do it in the first game is all the better. We feel good. We struggled a little early and then they got a miss out of that, but if we just make more shots than the opponent then we will do well.”

Ki Jeong Lee; skip, Korea (after 6-4 win over Norway): “This draw was very tough for all teams. I was a little nervous but this is a first win, so I am very happy. The ninth end was very important. My goal was to get two points but they had a mistake and we got three.

Results men's session one: Scotland 6-7 USA; Canada 12-8 Sweden; Italy 3-8 Switzerland; Norway 4-6 Korea

Standings after men’s session one (W-L):
Canada 1-0
Korea 1-0
Switzerland 1-0
USA 1-0
China 0-0
Turkey 0-0
Italy 0-1
Norway 0-1
Scotland 0-1
Sweden 0-1

For live broadcast information from these championships – which starts on Sunday 19 February 2017 – visit, www.worldcurling.org/broadcast and www.youtube.com/WorldCurlingTV

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