Canada and Japan reach the Pioneer Hi-Bred World Men’s semi-finals

  • Canada reach the semi-finals © WCF / Michael Burns

Hosts Canada beat Scotland by 6-5 while Japan were 7-6 winners over United States in Saturday morning’s qualification games of the Pioneer Hi-Bred World Men’s Curling Championship 2019 in Lethbridge, Canada, and these results mean that Japan now face defending champions Sweden in one semi-final while Canada will play Switzerland in the other.

Canada opened the scoring in the first end against Scotland when, after playing a freeze with his first stone, their skip Kevin Koe hit out a Scottish stone to score two points.

In the seventh end Canada were 4-3 up when their skip Kevin Koe drew his final stone onto the button to score one point and move on to a 5-3 lead.

In the eighth end, Scotland skip Bruce Mouat also played a draw onto the button to score one point and reduce Canada’s lead to 5-4 as the momentum in the game moved backward and forward.

In the ninth end, Canada’s Koe played a double take-out and kept his own stone in the house to score another single point and increase his lead to 6-4.

In the tenth end, Scotland’s Moat hit out a Canadian stone in the four-foot ring but could not keep his own in play. This meant he only scored one point in the end instead of the two he needed, as Canada won by 6-5 and now face Switzerland in the semi-finals.

Canada’s Koe said afterwards, “We had control the whole game and we did a great job just keeping up that one-point lead. We played great, we made the shots we had to, but those guys are a great team, we just never saw it go away. It was a little nerve-wracking at the end, but we’ve got the job done and we move on.”

Looking forward to his game against Switzerland, he said, “All that matters is tonight’s game, who wins tonight, beating them in the round-robin is meaningless now, so we want this bad and hopefully we come out and play the same way.”

In the other qualification game, Olympic champions United States faced Japan and, in the first end Japan’s skip Yuta Matsumura drew his second stone into the house to open the scoring with two points.

In the sixth end, Matsumura had a complete miss on a take-out attempt to hand United States a steal of one point that levelled the score at 4-4. Then in the seventh end Matsumura played another draw-shot, this time scoring one point to take the lead again, at 5-4.

In the ninth end, United States skip John Shuster deliberately threw away his last stone for fear of causing more damage than the steal of one that he sacrificed. This gave Japan a 6-4 lead and, in the tenth end, Shuster drew for two points to level the score at 6-6 and force an extra end.

With the last stone of that extra end, Japan’s Matsumura drew onto the button, inside two American stones already in the house, to score the one point that gave his team a 7-6 win and a semi-final game against defending champions Sweden.

After the game, Matsumura said, “I think the first deuce gave us control of the game” adding, “we were not surprised [that United States threw away their last stone in the ninth end], that’s their style.”

Looking forward, he added, “I’m very happy to be in the semi-final. Sweden are a very, very good team so it’s going to be tough going.”

Results: Scotland 5-6 Canada; Japan 7-6 United States

Watch, follow, engage

Live coverage of these championships will be available via the World Curling Federation’s broadcast partners: Eurosport (Europe-wide), TSN and RDS (Canada), NBCSports (United States), NHK (Japan), CCTV5 (China), SBS (Korea), SRF/RTS/RSI (Switzerland), Viasat (Denmark, Norway, Finland), Polsat (Poland), SVT (Sweden), Match TV (Russia), La Chaine Equipe (France), BBC Online (United Kingdom). Coverage will also be available, subject to geo-blocking restrictions, on the event website and the World Curling Federation’s Twitter, Facebook and YouTube Channels: www.youtube.com/WorldCurlingTV

To engage with the World Curling Federation on social media during the Pioneer Hi-Bred World Men’s Curling Championship 2019 follow it on Twitter, Instagram (@worldcurling) and Facebook (@WorldCurlingFederation) and use the hashtags when posting: #WMCC2019 #curling