Sweden confirm top spot in the Pioneer Hi-Bred World Men’s rankings

  • Sweden skip, Niklas Edin © WCF / Jeffrey Au

The round-robin section of the Pioneer Hi-Bred World Men’s Curling Championship 2019, being staged in Lethbridge, Canada, has reached its last day, and, in Friday morning’s 18th session, defending champions Sweden clinched top spot on the rankings with an 8-4 win over the Olympic champions, United States.

In the other games, Canada beat Switzerland by 10-3 in just six ends, while Germany had a 6-4 win over China, and Russia beat Norway by 8-5.

In the game between Sweden and United States, the Swedes opened with a score of two points in the first end, but the Americans countered with two points of their own in the second end when their skip John Shuster hit out a Swedish stone sitting on the four-foot ring.

Sweden then blanked the next two ends and could only score one point in the fifth end to take a 3-2 lead into the break.

The Swedes eventually took control when, in the seventh end, their skip Niklas Edin had an open draw into the house to score four points and take a 7-3 lead. Sweden went on to win by 8-4 and this result sealed top spot and a direct route to the semi-finals for them.

Speaking after the game, Edin said, “It’s as good as we could have hoped for. We’ve played really well through the whole round-robin so far, and the one game we lost to Scotland, we actually played pretty well too. We’ve nothing to complain about so far, but now all the games are pretty important.”

When Canada faced Switzerland, they were both looking for a win to help their play-off ambitions and, the game turned in the second end when the second stone from Switzerland’s fourth player Benoit Schwarz seemed to pick up debris on the way down to slew off-course and come up short, handing Canada a steal of five points for a 7-0 lead.

Although Schwarz drew his second stone of the fifth end into the four-foot ring to score two points and reduce Canada’s lead to 9-3, the damage had been done, and Switzerland conceded the game after six ends, with the score at 10-3 to Canada.

When the teams came off the ice Canada’s lead player Ben Hebert said, “Obviously, we got a big break. He gets the pick and we get five, so that was pretty much the ball-game. This is a good comeback win for us after our disappointing loss last night [to Scotland]. We need two wins today to get a good spot in the play-offs and that’s a good way to start it. It’s good to see that we’re playing with some confidence.”

Russia opened their game against Norway with a score of four points in the first end when their skip Sergey Glukhov played a hit on the wing of the house. The Russians took a 5-4 lead into the break and then a further score of two in the sixth end increased their lead to 7-5. Russia went on to seal their fourth win of the event with a single point in the tenth end for 8-5.
China faced Germany in this session, and, in the second end, Germany’s skip Marc Muskatewitz drew his second stone onto the four-foot ring to score two points and take a 2-1 lead.

After blanking the third end, China’s skip Qiang Zou played a draw inside the eight-foot ring in the fourth end to score two points and re-take the lead at 3-2. Despite this, Germany went on to win by 6-4 when China ran out of stones in the tenth end.

With two more round-robin sessions to play, only table-toppers Sweden and Japan have qualified for the play-offs, with Canada, Switzerland, Italy, United States and Scotland still fighting it out for the remaining four qualification places.

Results: Russia 8-5 Norway; China 4-6 Germany; Canada 10-3 Switzerland; Sweden 8-4 United States.

Current Standings (W-L):

Q Sweden 10-1
Canada 8-3
Q Japan 8-3
Switzerland 8-3
Italy 7-3
United States 7-4
Scotland 6-4
Germany 4-7
Russia 4-7
Netherlands 3-7
China 2-9
Norway 2-9
Korea 1-10

Q = qualified for the play-offs

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