Team Canada has got off to a strong start in men’s curling at the 2018 Olympic Winter Games in Pyeongchang. The Canadian squad, skipped by Kevin Koe of Calgary, Alberta, delivered two victories on the first full day of Olympic men’s curling competition.
In Canada’s win over Italy, I wouldn’t blame any curling fan if they felt the men’s tournament was a little dry after the action-packed week of mixed doubles over the last few days. It took both Canada and Italy a while to get going offensively as the first three ends were blanked and the score was only 2-2 after the first seven ends.
A major shot for Team Canada came in the sixth end, as Koe had a terrific freeze and put Canada up 2-1. After the Italians tied it, Canada had a huge deuce in the eighth as Koe had a double takeout with his final stone and put Canada up 4-2. Canada then forced Italy to a point in the ninth and then Koe had a big double takeout to end the game in the 10th and a 5-3 Canada win.
In Canada’s 6-4 win over Great Britain, the bottom line was Canada made the least mistakes. Great Britain skip Kyle Smith hit the guard in a freeze attempt, which helped Koe pick up a deuce. Then in the sixth end, Great Britain second Kyle Waddell had a flash, and in the eighth end Thomas Muirhead (brother of Great Britain’s women’s skip Eve Muirhead) missed a key shot in an attempt for a double takeout and Great Britain only scored one point in the end instead of two.
The bottom line is Koe’s wins were not flashy, but he got the job done. Canada is in a first place tie with Sweden’s Niklas Edin, who beat Denmark 9-5 and South Korea 7-2.
Meanwhile in pairs figure skating, Meagan Duhamel of Sudbury, Ontario and Eric Radford of Winnipeg are in a dog fight for the podium. They currently sit in third, but have no margin for error. There are six teams that are within 2.62 points of Duhamel and Radford heading into the long program on Wednesday night. Duhamel and Radford were clean, but their side-by-side jumps were not in complete unison with another, and thus they are behind Sui Wenjing and Han Cong of China along with Evgenia Tarasova and Vladimir Morozov of the Olympic Athletes from Russia.