Korea and United States claim final 361º World Men’s play-off places

  • United States' lead Philip Tilker and skip Rich Ruohonen celebrate their win © WCF / Steve Seixeiro

Korea and United States claimed the final two play-off places in the 361º World Men’s Curling Championship 2018 in Las Vegas, United States on Friday (6 April) evening.

United States will now play, Canada in the 3v6 game, while Korea and Norway will go head-to-head in the 4v5 game, on Saturday (7 April) morning. These games will be live on national broadcasters and World Curling TV at 08:30 (Pacific Standard Time, PST).

In the final round-robin session Korea beat Russia 9-4 to secure their play-off berth, while United States won against Switzerland, 5-3. Switzerland had also been fighting for a play-off position.

The six teams to qualify are Olympic silver medallists Sweden, in first place; Scotland who are second – these teams receive a bye straight to the semi-finals later on Saturday – Canada are third; Korea fourth; Norway fifth and United States sixth.

Sweden will play their semi-final at 13:30 (PST) against the lower ranked winner, from the round robin, of the first play-off games. Scotland will then play the other winner at 18:30 (PST). These games will also be broadcast live.

In the fifth end of the game between Korea and Russia, Korea’s skip ChangMin Kim played a hit for four points, which gave his team a 6-2 lead. Then, in the eighth end Kim executed a raise double take out which sealed the win and a place in the play-offs. The game ended 9-4 after eight ends.

Switzerland and United States were also battling for a place in the play-offs. In the second end of this game United States’ fourth player, Greg Persinger, scored two points to open the scoring. A single point steal in the ninth end then gave the Americans a 5-3 lead, going into the final end. But, Switzerland could only claim one point from that end handing United States the win.

In the fifth end of the game between Netherlands and Italy, Netherlands’ skip Jaap van Dorp made a hit for three points and a 4-1 lead. However, steals in the seventh and eighth ends for Joel Retornaz and his team allowed them to build a comeback that saw them win the game 6-5.

Canada completed their round-robin campaign, having already qualified, with an 8-1 win over Germany, in just six ends. This was helped largely by a tap for three points by skip Brad Gushue in the sixth end.

They said it

ChangMin Kim; skip, Korea (after 9-4 win over Russia): "It feels so great because in my last few games there were many mistakes and it was so hard for my team, but we kept playing and got better and better and now we've qualified [for the play-off stage]. I was very confident with my [last] shot. I thought I would make it and I did."

Rich Ruohonen; skip, United States (after 5-3 win over Switzerland): “It’s unbelievable. We started off 1-6 and we easily could have been 5-1 or something like that and to come back and win five straight with our backs against the wall – and get a little help from Korea tonight – is fantastic. That was one of our best games, I think. Top to bottom we played really well. If we play like that we have a chance.

“We have to play the best team in the world tomorrow morning and we have to play them like we did last time. We’re going to have to make some big shots and the normal ones you have to make. They’re going to be gunning for us and want payback, I’m sure.”

Session 20 results: Italy 6-5 Netherlands; Russia 4-9 Korea; Switzerland 3-5 United States; Germany 1-8 Canada

Standings after session 20

Q Sweden 11-1
Q Scotland 11-1
Q Canada 9-3
Q Korea 7-5
Q Norway 7-5
Q United States 6-6
Switzerland 6-6
Russia 5-7
Italy 5-7
Netherlands 4-8
Japan 3-9
China 3-9
Germany 1-11

To engage with the World Curling Federation on social media in the build to the 361º World Men's Curling Championship 2018 follow it on Twitter, Instagram (@worldcurling) and Facebook (/WorldCurlingFederation) and use the hashtags when posting: #WMCC2018 #curling