2021 World Men's Curling Championship: Canada 7, Sweden 9
Brendan Bottcher and the Canadians are now in must-win territory at the World Men’s Curling Championship.
After a tough two-loss day on Wednesday, Canada is holding onto the sixth and final playoff spot with a 7-4 record. They’ll finish off round-robin play against Norway’s Steffen Walstad, also 7-4, Thursday night and Germany’s Sixten Totzek (4-7) on Friday morning.
Watch the game against Norway at 9 p.m. ET on TSN1 and streaming on TSN.ca, the TSN App and TSN Direct.
The first loss on Wednesday came against RCF and skip Sergey Glukhov, who made a draw to the 12-foot that was barely enough for shot rock and the 8-7 extra-end win. In the evening, Bottcher was in control of the two-time defending world champs from Sweden for most of the game. But Niklas Edin grabbed a three-spot in the eighth end and four points in the last for the 9-7 win.
“Right now, I think everyone’s emotions are pretty raw,” said the 29-year-old skip after the loss to Sweden. “We don’t play until tomorrow night, which I think is probably a good thing, but we really need to compartmentalize today. We actually played quite a few really good ends of curling as a team. We made a lot of really good shots, got some really good deuces with hammer, and that’s the momentum we got to try and carry forward.”
Third Darren Moulding admitted he struggled on Wednesday and said he needs to be better going forward.
“I was terrible today,” said Moulding. “You can’t win when your vice is calling line and playing like that. The boys played hard all day and this one is on me today. I just have to be better tomorrow [Thursday]. We got two more games and we can still salvage this. You got to take responsibility when you mess up. It just sucks to throw away a good effort by the guys with just a couple bad line calls at the end.”
Beating Norway will go a long way in securing a playoff spot and clinching Canada an Olympic berth in men’s curling at the 2022 Winter Olympics. Winning their final two games will guarantee both. Norway, who has world curling veteran Torger Nergaard at third, have dropped three in a row.
However, splitting or losing the next two games would make things interesting.
RCF and Sweden sit at 10-2 and 9-2, respectively, and both have clinched playoff spots.
The United States, led by 2018 Olympic champ John Shuster, are 8-3 with games against Netherlands and South Korea remaining. At 7-4, Norway finishes against the Scots on Friday after the game against the Canadians. Bruce Mouat's rink from Scotland is 8-4.
Switzerland’s Team Peter De Cruz still has a chance to nab the final playoff spot. The Swiss started off hot with a 4-0 record, even beating Canada, 6-4 on Sunday. They’ve gone the other way since but are still in contention following an 8-4 win over the Dutch Thursday morning to push their record to 6-5.
They finish off against South Korea and China, who are both at the bottom of the table. If Switzerland and Canada are tied for the last playoff spot, the Swiss are in the playoffs thanks to their victory over the Red and White last weekend.
In the event of a three-way tie, the pre-game Last Shot Draw statistics will be used to determine the playoff spot.
If Bottcher and company finish outside the top six, Canada will be forced to qualify for the Beijing Olympics in a qualification event scheduled for later this year. Time and place have not been announced.
“I don’t think any of the confidence is gone,” said Moulding. “I’m usually better than I was today. It’s just disappointing to have a day like this in a spot like this. So, by no means do I think it’s going to continue to go this way. I believe we’ll be able to come back [Thursday] and get a big win. We’re still in good shape.”
Canada has won gold at the men’s worlds a record 36 times with Sweden at second with nine victories. The last time Canada missed the playoffs at the men’s worlds was in 1976.