Canadians are making a claim for the title of most dominant in curling during these Olympic Winter Games.
Canada’s Kevin Martin clinched the top spot in the playoffs with his seventh-straight win, defeating Markus Eggler of Switzerland 6-4 in draw 9 on Sunday.
“I didn’t even know the standings until today,” Martin told TSN. “I didn’t know the rankings, didn’t know who was doing what until today because it doesn’t matter. It’s all about your own team, getting to the semifinals and getting in good position.”
Team Canada improved to 7-0 in the men’s tournament, and coupled with a Norway loss, guaranteed them a first-place finish in round-robin play. Martin’s rink takes on John Shuster of the United States on Monday.
The skip’s final stone of the game stopped full button to give Canada the win. It was the type of throw that Martin’s rink had grown accustomed to throughout the match.
Martin’s rocks were spot-on in the closing ends, throwing with 94 per cent accuracy during the match. The rest of the Canadian team shot with a high success rate, behind lead Ben Hebert, second Marc Kennedy and third John Morris.
After Switzerland’s fourth end, where Ralph Stoeckli, scored a deuce in the eighth end to cut Canada’s lead to 5-4, Martin reverted to a good defence to earn Canada yet another victory.
He used his first throw in the ninth end to take out two Swiss rocks, and threw his second through the house to blank the end and take the hammer into the 10th end.
A miscue by Stoeckli to draw in the first end led to a deuce by Martin, giving the Canadians a 2-0 edge after one end. Canada remained in control throughout the rest of the match, taking a 3-2 lead into the seventh after both teams blanked on two-straight ends.
Martin’s final throw of the seventh knocked out a Swiss rock to give the skip two points and all Canada would need to remain the only undefeated team in the tournament.
“Everybody knows they’re one of the best teams in the world,” said Stoeckli. “Everybody knows going into the game you have to play your best game and still get some breaks.”
Switzerland falls to 4-3 with the loss but remain in the playoff picture. Eggler’s team plays Sweden, also 4-3, in a pivotal match for both teams on Monday.
Murdoch’s Great Britain edges U.S. in must-win game
David Murdoch’s Great Britain rink rebounded from a tough loss the day before against Canada, to narrowly defeat John Shuster of the U.S. 4-2 at the Vancouver Olympic Centre, Sunday.
The United States were in command for most of the match, taking a 1-0 lead into the fifth end against Murdoch’s gold-medal favourite team.
But Murdoch, considered to be one of the best skips in the world, threw a perfect stone on the button with his second shot of the fifth to score a deuce, giving his team a 2-1 advantage.
Great Britain would go on to score a point in the 10th to ensure themselves a much needed win, improving to 4-3 in the round robin.
The United States fell to 2-5 with the loss, but have yet to lose by more than two points and have had five of their seven matches decided by one point.
Shuster’s team will play the undefeated Canadians on Monday in hopes of keeping its slim playoff chances alive. The U.S. won bronze at the 2006 Turin Games.
Great Britain plays Germany on Monday.
Sweden comes from behind to upset Norway
Niklas Edin’s Team Sweden scored points in the final two ends to beat Thomas Ulsrud’s Team Norway 8-7 in draw 9 play on Sunday.
Edin’s team trailed Norway 7-6 heading into the ninth end before rallying to beat Ulsrud’s rink, improving to 4-3 in men’s round-robin play.
Ulsrud’s final rock came up just a bit heavy, leaving the door open for Sweden to steal a point and secure its second upset of the tournament, after beating Great Britain in the opening draw.
Norway, the 2002 gold medallists, dropped to 5-2 with the loss and play France next.
Sweden plays Switzerland, also 4-3, on Monday.
Schmidt’s Denmark downs Germany 9-5
Ulrik Schmidt’s rink scored four points in the fourth end to power their way to a 9-5 victory over Germany Sunday night.
German skip Andy Kapp executed on just 72 per cent of his shots, as Schmidt’s rink controlled most of the match.
Denmark improved to 2-5 and plays France next, while the Germans, who remain on the playoff bubble at 3-4, face China on Monday.