Teams push hard for Olympic Qualification Points in penultimate round-robin session

Although the four teams that will contest medals in the weekend play-offs – in the Ford World Men’s Curling Championship 2017 in the Northlands Coliseum in Edmonton, Canada – were already known, all the games played in Thursday (6 April) afternoon’s second-last round-robin session were meaningful, with final rankings for Olympic Qualification points still to be determined.

Lead Alexander Lindstroem and third Markus Hoeiberg Photo: © WCF / Richard Gray

Switzerland – already in the top four – faced China and, in the eighth end of this game, with China leading by 5-3, Switzerland’s fourth player Benoit Schwarz played a hit on a Chinese stone in the house to score two points to level the score at 5-5. But, this was not enough as China went on to win by 8-5.

Norway faced Italy and in the sixth end Norway’s skip Steffen Walstad played a hit to score two points to level the score at 4-4. Norway then went on to win by 7-5 – to strengthen their claim for an Olympic slot.

When USA and Sweden came onto the ice to face each other, both teams knew they had already qualified for the weekend play-offs, and in the second end, USA’s skip John Shuster hit out a Swedish stone to score two points and take a 2-1 lead. In the eighth end, Shuster played a draw-shot to score two points and finish off the game, as Sweden conceded with the score at 7-3 in the USA’s favour.

The fourth game of the session saw Scotland face Germany and in the third end, after blanking the first two ends, Scotland’s skip David Murdoch played a tap-out on a German stone and kept his own stone in position to open the scoring in the game with two points. Scotland went on to win by 7-1, another vital win in the Olympic point race.

They said it

Steffen Walstad; skip, Norway (after 7-5 win over Italy): “It’s really important for us, because I think we booked our Olympic spot! I think it certainly bettered our chances. So maybe except one game, we played well every game.”

David Murdoch; skip, Scotland (after 7-1 win over Germany): “We controlled that game from start to finish. We were super-motivated, we were really clinical in our execution and we forced a bit of pressure. We know we’re out of the play-offs and that’s frustrating but for us it’s a win and now we need to finish strongly. We have to finish our jobs tonight and then see where we are.”

Results after session 16: Switzerland 5-8 China; Norway 7-5 Italy; USA 7-3 Sweden; Germany 1-7 Scotland

Standings after session 16:

Q CAN - Canada 10-0
Q SWE - Sweden 8-2
Q SUI - Switzerland 8-3
Q USA - United States 8-3
CHN - China 5-5
JPN - Japan 5-5
NOR - Norway 5-5
SCO - Scotland 5-5
ITA - Italy 4-7
GER - Germany 3-8
NED - Netherlands 1-9
RUS - Russia 0-10

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WCTV highlights next live game: Japan v China (Thursday 6 April at 19.00, -6 UTC)