Session 8: Canada continue to dominate while Norway and Switzerland lead the chase

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Canada maintained their unbeaten record at the top of the standings with a 9-3 win over Russia in Monday evening's eighth session of round robin play at the Ford World Men's Curling Championship 2015 being held in the Scotiabank Centre in Halifax, Canada.

Canada skip Pat Simmons has been performing well for his unbeaten team Photo: WCF/CC/Michael Burns

The Russians started well, blanking the first two ends before scoring one point in the third end for an early lead.

Canada then scored three points in the fourth end and produced a single-point steal to take a 4-1 lead into the fifth end break.

Two more points in the seventh end and then another three points in the ninth end proved to be enough to seal the Canadian victory that keeps them in top spot on the rankings with an unblemished five wins from five games so far.

Speaking about that afterwards, their second player Carter Rycroft said: "We don't feel like we're 5-0. We're still a little bit off, still with some weird misses. But the more you can knock off and still not feel that you're playing 100 percent, the better."

Meanwhile Norway kept their title defence on-track with a 6-5 win over Scandinavian rivals Sweden.

In a re-run of last year’s Le Gruyere European Curling Championships final, the teams traded single points all the way to the seventh end, when Sweden made the first break-through with a score of two points in the eighth end for 5-4.

Norway then levelled the score at 5-5 with a single point in the ninth end before they stole a single point for their 6-5 win in the tenth end.

This latest win capped off a memorable day for Norway skip Thomas Ulsrud who surpassed Germany’s Andy Kapp as the player who has won the most games at Word Men’s Curling Championships playing as a skip.

Kapp’s previous record was 72 wins as skip, with Ulsrud securing his 74th win against Sweden in this session.

After the game, Ulsrud said: "I was getting ready to pack up my bag as I really thought we had lost that one. Now we're four (wins) and one (loss) - that's pretty good, but we need to keep our game up because all our games have been pretty tight."

This victory keeps Norway just one win behind Canada in joint second place with Switzerland, who sealed a 7-4 win over China in this session, stealing two points in the tenth end for their win.

After this Swiss win, their third Enrico Pfister said: "We are very happy with that. It's great to be where we’re at. We were not thinking about the results too much - we came here as newcomers and we're playing against the best teams in the world. Now we're on four wins and one loss, so we're very happy."

The fourth game of this session saw USA face Italy and the USA gave themselves a fine start in the first end when their skip John Shuster played a softly-weighted tap-back with his final stone to open the scoring in the game with six points.

Try as they did, Italy had no response to this blow and conceded the game after just six ends with the score at 8-2 to the Americans.

After what was only his team's second win, Shuster said: "It’s a great way to start a game but it was really important to keep our intensity today. It sets the stage for some confidence going forward - getting this win tonight kept us in the tournament."

RESULTS
Session 8:
USA 8, Italy 2; Russia 3, Canada 9; Sweden 5, Norway 6; China 4, Switzerland 7.

STANDINGS
Standings after 8 sessions of play (W-L):

1. Canada 5-0
2. Norway 4-1
2. Switzerland 4-1
4. Czech Republic 3-2
4. Finland 3-2
4. Japan 3-2
7. Italy 2-3
7. Sweden 2-3
7. USA 2-3
10. China 1-4
10. Russia 1-4
12. Scotland 0-5

During the round robin portion of a competition, teams with the same win-loss record will be listed alphabetically, by their three letter code, and ranked equal.

Video Highlights: Highlights from games throughout the Championship will be available to watch courtesy of World Curling TV (WCTV), the television arm of the World Curling Federation.

WCTV will provide extensive live and video-on-demand coverage to broadcasters around the world from Halifax. The full broadcast schedule is here: http://www.worldcurling.org/wmcc2015/schedule

In addition, curling fans around the world will be able to follow selected live coverage of the 2015 World Championship events via the World Curling Federation’s YouTube Channel www.youtube.com/WorldCurlingTV

The 2016 Ford World Men's Curling Championship will be staged in Basel, Switzerland starting on Saturday 2nd April.