Veteran Stockli leads Switzerland to curling bronze

When the pressure was on, the experienced skip came through.

Switzerland defeated Sweden 5-4 to capture the bronze medal after veteran skip Ralph Stockli was forced to draw to the four-foot to score two points for the win in the final end.

The veteran Swiss team of Stockli, third Jan Hauser, second Markus Eggler, and lead Simon Strubin played well throughout the game, but the play of young Swedish skip Niklas Edin almost allowed the inexperienced Swedes to pull off an upset.

It was Edin who missed a key draw in the final end that allowed Stockli the chance to score his deuce.  Edin, who had been known throughout the tournament for being able to make miraculous big weight takeouts to rescue his team from disaster, was heavy on a freeze attempt with his last shot in the 10th end, bouncing off the Switzerland stone in the back of the four-foot and leaving Stockli the open draw.

An end earlier, Edin used that big weight ability to temporarily avoid defeat, as it appeared Switzerland would be able to score three or four points and take a commanding lead into the final end.  After Stockli removed a Sweden stone to count four, Edin was able to make a quadruple takeout to leave a blank house and force Switzerland into blanking the end.

Both teams curled well, but Stockli and Edin were particularly strong throughout the game, as Stockli shot an impressive 92 per cent in the game.  Edin shot 83 per cent, but struggled with his draws, only making 68 per cent.

Switzerland now has won three medals in men’s curling since it became an Olympic sport in 1998.  The country had previously won the bronze medal in 2002 in Salt Lake City and the inaugural gold medal in 1998, led by skip Patrick Huerlimann. 

Sweden was unable to win the country’s first medal in men’s curling a day after Sweden’s Anette Norberg was able to defend her gold medal.

Canada’s Kevin Martin will look to capture the gold medal in the final Saturday evening, when he takes on Thomas Ulsrud of Norway.