Oskar Eriksson and his Swedish team of twin brothers Alexander and Kristian Lindström and Christoffer Sundgren, won the men’s 2011 World Junior Curling Championship by 6-5 in Sunday’s tight, high-class final in Perth, Scotland, beating Switzerland’s defending champions - skip Peter de Cruz; fourth player Benoit Schwarz; and front end Valentin Tanner and Roger Gulka.
Switzerland opened by stealing a single point in the first end, but there was never more than one point between the teams until the eighth end, when the Swedes scored the second of two single steals for a 6-4 lead. This proved to be the difference. When Switzerland could only respond with one point in the ninth end, and then dropped their first stone of the tenth end short of the hog-line, Eriksson had the simple task of keeping the last end clean until Switzerland ran out of stones.
Afterwards, a delighted Eriksson said, “It feels awesome, I am so relieved now to have the gold medal, finally”.
“We didn’t play so good at the start. Me and Kristian missed a couple of shots, we had some pressure on us. Christoffer and Alexander played much better in this game than they played in the 1v2 game. In the fifth end break we said that me and Kristian had to play much better, and we did.”
He added, “the Swiss played really good in the start, then they started to struggle with their draws - like the draw in eight, it was supposed to be in the four foot but it was a steal for us.”
For his part, a disappointed Swiss skip de Cruz was gracious. “We played well but we made a few little mistakes that cost us. They (Sweden) are a great team. They have dominated the junior scene for the last three or four years, so they deserve it I think”.
He also had words of praise for his own team, “I’m absolutely proud of what my team has tried to do. In two appearances at the worlds, we’ve got one title and one chance to defend the title, unfortunately not winning”.
This is the first Junior Men’s gold for Sweden since 2004 – when Niklas Edin won the gold in Trois Rivieres, Quebec in Canada. Eriksson skipped a different line up in 2008, losing the final to the USA’s Chris Plys in Oestersund, Sweden.
Meanwhile, Norway’s Steffen Mellemeseter and his team of Sander Rølvåg, Magnus Nedregotten and Markus Snøve Høiberg took bronze, beating Canada’s Braeden Moskowy and his team of Kirk Muyres, Colton Flasch and Matt Lang by 10-2.
This was a bit of a run-away win for the Norwegians, with the writing on the wall from the start for Canada. Norway opened with a single and stole two in the second end when Moskowy’s last stone was removed for a hog-line infringement. The Norwegians stole another in the third end and took three in the fifth end.
After this it was simply a case of playing the game out for a bitterly disappointed Canadian team, who brought on alternate Regis Neumeier in the eighth end before conceding.
After the game, which saw Norway take their first junior men’s bronze since current Olympic silver medallist and European champion Thomas Ulsrud medalled in Fuessen, Germany 23 years ago, Norway’s Mellemseter said, “we played pretty bad in the 3v4 game, so we were pretty motivated to do a good bronze medal game”.
“We had a good start and kept going. I think we came out stronger because we had a longer time to re-motivate ourselves. It’s only last night that they lost to Switzerland. I think we had a good chance from before the game. We were the best team on the ice right from the start”.
Canadian skip Moskowy echoed Mellemseter’s views. “We came out flat and they played well and there wasn’t much we could do. It was a quick turn-around after last night’s game and we just couldn’t turn it on. We just came out deflated and didn’t play well, and didn’t play enough shots”.
“This is pure disappointment and embarrassment, so it just doesn’t feel good. I’m embarrassed...you come here expected to medal at least. It’s different if you play your best and get beat, but there was more out there and we just didn’t play our best so that’s what’s disappointing”.
The World Junior Curling Championships 2012 will take place in Östersund, Sweden from 3-11 March. Sweden, Switzerland, Norway, Canada, Scotland, Finland and the Czech Republic have all qualified for next year’s event. USA, China and Denmark face challenges and regional qualification events to make it to Sweden.
Junior Men’s Final Ranking
1. Sweden 10-1 Gold
2. Switzerland 8-4 Silver
3. Norway 7-4 Bronze
4. Canada 7-5
5. Scotland 5-4
6. USA 4-5
7. China 4-5
8. Finland 3-6
9. Czech Republic 1-8
10. Denmark 1-8
Men, Final / Gold: Sweden 6, Switzerland 5.
Men, Bronze: Norway 10, Canada 2.
Event website: http://www.wjcc2011.com
Event Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/wjcc2011
Results are mirrored on the WCF results database: http://results.worldcurling.org/default.aspx
Live webcast: http://www.worldcurling.org/wjcc-2011-web-coverage