Marc Pfister and his Switzerland foursome scored four in the second end Monday and cruised to a 7-1 win over Joel Retornaz of Italy to improve to 3-1 for a share of second place after seven draws at the 2015 Ford World Men’s Curling Championship at the Scotiabank Centre in Halifax.
Switzerland’s Marc Pfister celebrates his win over Italy. (Photo, Curling Canada/Michael Burns)
Only Pat Simmons of Canada, unbeaten at 4-0, is ahead of the Swiss team of Pfister, third Enrico Pfister, second Reto Keller, lead Raphael Mäkelä, alternate Sven Michel and coach Pius Matter.
“3-1 is good,” said Swiss national team coach Andi Schwaller. “Of course the heavy favourites are coming, with Canada, Sweden, Norway, but 3-1 we would have signed that.”
In other afternoon games Niklas Edin of Sweden scored three in the first end en route to a 9-3 win over Evgeny Arkhipov of Russia, Jiří Snítil of the Czech Republic overcame an early 4-1 deficit to beat struggling Ewan MacDonald of Scotland 8-6, and Aku Kauste of Finland got one in the 10th to nip Yusuke Morozumi of Japan 5-4.
The results left the Swiss tied with defending champion Thomas Ulsrud of Norway at 3-1. Japan, Finland and Czech Republic are at 3-2 followed by Italy and Sweden at 2-2, Russia, China and the U.S. at 1-3 and Scotland at 0-5.
A different Swiss squad won a bronze medal last year, beating Canada’s Kevin Koe 7-5, and Pfister took another step towards this year’s playoffs with his win Monday. After getting the 4-0 lead Pfister and crew kept the Italians from mounting any serious challenges, limiting them to just a single in the fifth end.
Schwaller said he’s not surprised by his team’s showing: “No, not much. I told them if they play like they did at home they have a good chance at the playoffs. I told them, no fear. Of course there are some good teams, experienced teams coming that they haven’t played yet but, hey, go for it.
“Just believe in yourself. We have a good system back home so whoever wins knows that, hey, we are good. If we play like we can we have a good chance at playoffs.”
Canada (4-0), Norway (3-1), Jialiang Zang of China (1-3) and John Shuster of the U.S. (1-3) had the afternoon byes.
The 2015 Ford Worlds continue on Monday with an evening draw at 7:30 p.m. AT.
All Canadian games and the playoff rounds for the 2015 Ford World Men’s Curling Championship will be televised on TSN/RDS2, the official broadcasting partner of the Season of Champions. The full broadcast schedule is available at http://www.tsn.ca/2014-15-tsn-curling-broadcast-schedule-1.95515.
Sweden skip Niklas Edin, middle, discusses strategy with teammates Christoffer Sundgren, left, and Kristian Lindström. (Photo, Curling Canada/Michael Burns)
Live scoring is available at: http://www.curling.ca/scoreboard/#/competitions/1670-2015-ford-world-men-s-curling-championship/scoreboard
To purchase tickets to the 2015 Ford World Men’s Curling Championship, go to: http://www.curling.ca/2015worldmen-en/tickets/
The French version of this story will be available at http://www.curling.ca/2015worldmen-fr/ as soon as possible.