Story and Photos by Christian J. Stewart (ISN)
April 6, 2013, Victoria, BC (ISN) – Canada will play Sweden in Sunday afternoon’s gold medal final of the Ford World Men’s Curling Championship, following their 6-3 semi-final win over Scotland on Saturday evening at Save-on-Foods Memorial Arena in Victoria.
With a slightly different line-up for the semi-final, having benched regular third Tom Brewster, Scotland would open the semi-final with a single point in the first end. Canada would follow with a blank of the next two ends, but in the third would take advantage of an opportunity as Canadian skip Brad Jacobs hit and stayed with his second stone to score two points and take the lead – at 2-1 – for the first time in the game.
Scotland made a crucial call even before the game began Saturday, benching their regular third Tom Brewster (middle) (Photo: Christian J. Stewart / Island Sports News)
In the fifth end, Scotland’s David Murdoch would respond, drawing inside two Canadian stones to score one point and tie the game at 2-2.
In the sixth end, the Canadians took on a difficult come-around a front guard shot, and good sweeping kept their stone on line, allowing them to hit for three points and a 5-2 lead. That brought the crowd of 4,221 to their feet, many of whom sensed that it was the beginning of the end for the Scots.
The Candian’s were on skip Brad Jacob’s broom all game, curling for 92% as a team against Scotland in the semi-final (Photo: Christian J. Stewart / Island Sports News)
Scotland blanked the seventh end and, in the eighth end, Scotland’s skip David Murdoch attempted a triple take-out to get back on level terms, but managed to take out one of his own stones at the back of the house instead, to give Canada a steal of one point, moving their lead to 6-2.
Scottish sweepers Scott Andrews (left) and Greg Drummond follow a stone down the ice in their game with Canada Saturday (Photo: Christian J. Stewart / Island Sports News)
In the ninth end, Scotland tried what they could to put stones in the house, only to have them promptly removed by the excellent shooting of the Canadians. With the last stone, Murdoch drew into an empty house to score one point in the ninth end to reduce the Canadian lead to 6-3, but the Scots then conceded the match at that point.
The pressure of the big stage was no problem for Ryan Fry and the Canadian team, as they secured a pair of crucial wins Saturday to move into the gold medal game against Sweden (Photo: Christian J. Stewart / Island Sports News)
Afterwards, an unbelieving Canadian skip Jacobs said, “We’re in the world final! I think we lost four of our last six games in the round robin, but we’ve managed to scrape our way into the final and I think it says a lot about our character, the way that this team has been able to park those losses and come out knowing what we’re capable of doing, and then going out and doing it. It’s just phenomenal.”
Assuming his trademark prone position, Canadian third Ryan Fry checks out the line of his shot in the game against Scotland Saturday (Photo: Christian J. Stewart / Island Sports News)
He added, “It’s pretty crazy. But this is our team. We’re grinders, and we don’t like to do things the easy way, apparently. But we were taught at an early age to never give up and just play as hard as we can. That’s what we did today. I’m really proud of the guys for coming out and playing so great in front of me. Today was a perfect day”.
And looking forward to the final, he said, “I’m really looking forward to playing Sweden in the final. They’re friends of ours off the ice and rivals on the ice. Hopefully it will be everything that everyone expects, a back-and-forth battle and a shootout. Hopefully both teams can provide that tomorrow.”
Canadian skip Brad Jacobs was bang on with his throws all day Saturday, curling his best when his team needed it the most (Photo: Christian J. Stewart / Island Sports News)
Meanwhile a disappointed Scottish skip Murdoch said, “Those guys played extremely well I have to say. They had a great game. They’ve got a bit of momentum and they’ve got the crowd behind them – they put on a good show. We had a couple of chances, but it’s just disappointing because we’ve had a great week. All the guys are playing well and I’ve been throwing the rock as good as I have done for a long time.”
Before the gold medal game, Scotland and Denmark will play for bronze medals and, about that, Murdoch said, “we’ll just have to come out tomorrow, I don’t want to leave here without a medal this week. I think we’ve been one of the best teams here and we’re going to come out hard tomorrow.”
Scottish skip Dave Murdoch yells instruction to his team as he watches his shot head down the ice in the game with Canada Saturday (Photo: Christian J. Stewart / Island Sports News)
With the Ford World Men’s Championship now nearing its climax, the official declaration of the nations qualified directly for the 2014 Olympic Winter Games in Sochi, Russia, will be made by the World Curling Federation (WCF) following the final on Sunday. Seven nations plus hosts, Russia, will secure a spot following the conclusion of the 2013 World Championships.
Canadian skip Brad Jacobs led his team to the gold medal game, curling at 93% against Scotland on Saturday afternoon (Photo: Christian J. Stewart / Island Sports News)
Nations not qualifying directly for the 2014 Games will be eligible to take part in a new WCF Olympic Qualifying Event to be staged from 11-15 December 2013, in Füssen, Germany.
Save-on-Foods Memorial Arena should see its largest crowd of the tournament when Canada takes on Sweden in the gold medal final on Sunday (Photo: Christian J. Stewart / Island Sports News)
Two nations will qualify from the event in both men’s and women’s disciplines to complete the Olympic fields of 10 teams. National Olympic Committees are required to endorse team entry for this event by the end of May 2013. On confirmation of the number of competing teams, the competition format will be made public by the WCF at the start of June 2013.