World Men's Curling Championship 2012 - Draw 17

Heath McCormick and his USA team ended their Championship with a win Photo: WCF/Richard Gray

In what was to be their last appearance at the World Men’s Curling Championship, the Swiss team put a smile on the faces of the 2000-strong home crowd with a 10-6 win over France in Thursday evening’s final session of round-robin play.

And there was no sweeter moment for the Swiss fans than in the third end when fourth player, Benoit Schwarz, back in the team for tonight’s game, scored four points with a hit to give Switzerland the lead for the first time in the game. He followed that up with another hit – this time for two points – in the seventh end for an 8-4 lead. This result means that Switzerland’s final ranking is ninth while France finished tenth.

Afterwards, Swiss skip Jan Hauser explained the importance of this win: “It was really important for Switzerland and for all curlers in Switzerland to win tonight as we fought for Olympic points. We tried hard and we played a pretty good game tonight. It was a hard week and we learned a lot. Sometimes you have to learn how to lose before you can win - I think we have learnt that now.”

Having lost their unbeaten record at the hands of New Zealand in the previous session, Canada returned to winning ways with an 8-7 win over China.

In the third end, Canadian skip Glenn Howard had a hit to score three points and take a 5-1 lead. Despite all they tried, including a good double take-out by skip Rui Liu in the seventh end to score one point, China could not really get back on terms and Canada recorded their tenth win of the week.

Canada now go on to play second-placed Scotland – who sat out the final session – in the Page first versus second Play-off, while China finished in sixth place overall.

Afterwards, Howard said: “Of you’d told me before we got here we’d have been ten and one, I’d have locked that in. We finished on a winning note. We got to a nice start, 5-1 after three and were able to cruise after that.” Looking forward, he said: “Hopefully we’ll play better and get the job done.”

With injured skip Niklas Edin sitting out this evening’s game, Sebastian Kraupp took over skipping duties again for Sweden as they played a must-win game against Germany. The Germans kept it tight, with fourth player Felix Schulze drawing for two points in the seventh end to level the score at 3-3. But, after this, Sweden dominated, with Kraupp drawing for two points and a 5-3 lead in the eighth end. He then hit for two points again and the 7-4 win in the tenth end.

Sweden now face a tie-breaker against New Zealand to determine which of them will take the fourth Page Play-off slot to face third-placed Norway, while Germany ranked eleventh overall.

After the game, Kraupp spoke about his approach to going back to skip: “I played it tight - my strategy was to keep it simple. We managed to get a deuce in the eighth which was a turning point in the game. It feels good to have reached the tie-breaker. We won against them (New Zealand) in the round robin but they played well today. It looks like I will be skipping again tomorrow. Before the tournament we had the goal to take the gold medal with our regular team, but now, with the change, if we can get to the play-offs that would be great.”

Although they were out of contention, the USA had the consolation of finishing their campaign with a win when they beat the Czech Republic by 7-6 to finish in a clear eighth place overall while the Czechs’ final ranking is twelfth.

Reflecting on his campaign, USA skip Heath McCormick said: “It was important to win for some Olympic points. As early as Tuesday we knew we were in big trouble, so we had to start changing from trying to make the play-off mode to trying to get some Olympic points and trying to have some fun at the same time - I think we managed that. We’ve learned a lot and hopefully we can make it back here and prove to everyone we can do better than four and seven.”

The Championship now goes into sudden-death games. On Friday, Sweden will face New Zealand in a tie-breaker to determine fourth place and who will face Sweden in the Page 3-4 play-off on Saturday morning, with the winner of that proceeding to the semi-final and the loser awaiting the semi-final loser to play for bronze.

At the top of the rankings, Canada will face Scotland in the Page 1-2 Play-off on Saturday afternoon, with the winner going direct to Sunday’s final and the loser having a second chance of getting there by way of the sole semi-final.

RESULTS
Session 17: Switzerland 10, France 6; China 7, Canada 8; Sweden 7, Germany 4; Czech Republic 6, USA 7.

Final round-robin standings:
1. Canada 10-1 (qualified for 1v2 playoff)
2. Scotland 8-3 (qualified for 1v2 playoff)
3. Norway 8-3 (qualified for 3v4 playoff)
4. Sweden 7-4 (to play tie breaker)
4. New Zealand 7-4 (to play tie breaker)
6. China 6-5
7. Denmark 6-5
8. USA 4-7
9. Switzerland 3-8
10. France 3-8
11. Germany 2-9
12. Czech ReFRIDAY, 6 April

Tie-Breaker: Sweden v New Zealand (14:00 local)

SATURDAY, 7 April

Play-Off Game 3v4: Norway v winner of tie-breaker (09:00 local)
Play-Off Game 1v2: Canada v Scotland (14:00 local)
Semi-Final: Loser of Play-Off Game 1v2 Vs Winner of Play-Off Game 3v4 (20:00 local)

SUNDAY, 8 April

Bronze Medal Game: Loser of Play Off 3v4 Vs Loser of Semi-Final (11:00 local)
Gold Medal Game: Winner of Semi-Final Vs Winner of Play Off 1 v 2 (16:00 local)


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