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Joy of six for frontrunners China and Sweden in the men’s curling

At the Ice Cube Curling Centre, China’s men scored a 9-6 victory over Russia, while Sweden secured an 8-4 win over Germany, to keep the two victorious rinks at the top of the standings with six wins out of seven.

The game between Germany and Sweden was tight until a lapse from German fourth player Felix Schulze in the fifth end allowed the Swedes to steal two points for a 5-1 lead.

Germany reduced the deficit with two points in the sixth, before Sweden imposed their superiority in the following to ends to force a concession in the ninth end.

“Being in the lead was all we tried for going into the Olympic Games,” said Swedish skip Niklas Edin. “Six and one is a really good record in this field.”

Meanwhile, Canada and Great Britain took their match to the wire, with the result decided on the final stone, after the two heavyweights traded points in the early ends.

Locked at 4-4 after the first five, the match remained in the balance until the Canadians scored a crucial point to lead 6-5 in the penultimate end.

A failed double take-out from Great Britain skip David Murdoch then let Canada in for the steal and a 7-5 win.

“Relief, complete and total relief!” was Canada skip Brad Jones’ reaction at the finish. “We got lucky. That was a big break to get, but to win events you need big moments like that. It’s a game of millimetres... It was just crazy curling out there.”

China faced hosts Russia and, after scoring two points in the opening end and adding a steal in the second, the competition's joint pacesetters went into the break 5-3 up.

They extended their lead to 9-4 by the end of the eighth end, before a late Russian rally, which saw them add two points in the ninth, fizzled out in the final end to give China a 9-6 win.

“Both Chinese teams have worked really hard,” said their contented coach Marcel Rocque. “They are pretty happy right now at still having a chance at the play-offs and that has really been our goal.”

The outcome in the match between Denmark and Switzerland was effectively determined after just one end, when Swiss skip Sven Michel played a four point take-out.

Denmark blanked the next three ends as they went looking for a big score, and then reduced the deficit to 4-2 at the half way point. However, when Switzerland scored a further three points in the eighth, the Danes were forced to concede a 9-3 defeat.

“It feels much better than losing,” said the Swiss skip after guiding his rink to their second win in Sochi. “But I’m still not happy about our performance overall in the tournament.”

Men’s standings after 9 sessions:
1. China 6-1
1. Sweden 6-1
3. Canada 5-2
3. Great Britain 5-2
5. Norway 3-3
6. USA 2-4
7. Denmark 2-5
7. Russia 2-5
7. Switzerland 2-5
10. Germany 1-6

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