Canada reaches 1-2 Page game
Jeff Stoughton is in the driver’s seat at the Ford world curling championship.
The Canadian skip was 9-0 after Wednesday’s afternoon draw and has locked up a berth in 1-2 Page playoff game with two round-robin matches remaining.
“It has been a great week, so far,” said Stoughton, who beat Jiri Snitil of the Czech Republic 9-4 and Niklas Edin of Sweden 10-6 at the Brandt Centre before having Wednesday evening off. “We still have a lot of work left to do. We’re not going to let the train stop and we’re going to keep on rolling.”
There have been some minor bumps along the way, but it has been mostly smooth sailing for Stoughton at his third appearance at the world championship.
“Everything is working,” said Stoughton, who is joined by Jon Mead, Reid Carruthers and Steve Gould.
“We’re getting great positioning of our stones from Steve and Reid and that makes the shots for Jon and I that much easier. If we don’t get into great position, we’re in trouble. The best part is we have only been in trouble four or five times this whole event. We don’t expect that to stop.”
Stoughton, who leads all skips with an 87 per cent shooting percentage, said the team can still play better.
“There were a couple of half shots out there and you don’t want to do that,” Stoughton said. “You don’t want to give anyone that opportunity. We gave away a few, so there is always room for improvement.”
Stoughton is to play China’s Yan Song Ji on Thursday morning and Norway’s Thomas Ulsrud in the evening draw. The Canadian skip would clinch first place and the hammer throughout the playoffs with a win over either team, or with a loss by Scotland’s Tom Brewster.
“The goal at the beginning of the week was to make the playoffs,” Mead said. “Once we get to this point, if we have enough wins, we start to think about the 1-2 game.”
Stoughton has been in a similar position in the past. In 1999, he started 7-0 before losing to Germany’s Andy Kapp in the second-to-last game of the round robin.
Stoughton eventually reached the final, only to lose to 5-6 Scotland’s Hammy McMillan in an extra end. That experience has helped Stoughton keep what has taken place up to Wednesday night in perspective.
“It would still be nice to beat all of the teams here, so we’re not going to let up,” Stoughton said. “We’re going to play hard against China. If we have a chance to get rid of Norway, we’re not going to take them lightly. If they aren’t eliminated, we want to eliminate them because we don’t want to play them again.”
The top four teams after the round robin advance to the playoffs. Barring multiple tiebreakers, the 1-2 Page playoff game will be played Friday night.