Sochi, Russia – Sweden has qualified for the final of the World Wheelchair Curling Championship 2013 in Sochi, Russia, after beating Canada 6-5 in the 1v2 playoff of the event at the Ice Cube Curling Center on Friday afternoon.
Canada now faces USA in the semifinal, scheduled for Friday evening (20:00 local/Sochi/MSK time). The winner of this game will meet Sweden in the final/gold medal game.
USA won the 3v4 playoff game against China 8-4 to get into the semifinal. China will face the loser of Friday evening’s semifinal in the bronze medal game on Saturday scheduled for 09:30 local.
It was a tight game between Sweden and Canada. The key moment came in the sixth end when Swedish skip Jalle Jungnell produced an excellent promotion takeout to score two and lead 5-3. In the seventh end, Jungnell missed two attempted draws and left Canadian skip Jim Armstrong with a draw for two to tie the game at 5-5. In the eighth end, Sweden was able to hit and roll a stone into the four foot under Canadian cover. Armstrong was unable to move it. Jungnell didn’t need to play his last stone taking the one point for a 6-5 win.
The 3v4 game was more one sided. China stole their way into the game but from the third end the USA came back and were able to level the score at 3-3 and went on to steal a further five points over the next three ends. China managed to get one in the seventh end and was run out of stones in the eighth for an 8-4 final score.
Earlier China had eliminated hosts and 2012 Champions Russia in a tiebreaker game 8-3.
Swedish skip Jalle Jungnell on their win: “This game was very important because we played well all week. We were in the final four but we could still end up fourth. But now we know that we have a medal. It’s a fantastic feeling.”
“We have set our strategy for playing Canada and I think it is also the Swedish mentality when we meet a very good team, we play better, we are motivated I think. We always have a problem with the less good teams!”
“I still think that Canada is the most complete team. They are professional and a very good team. But we have had a very good week and it is possible for us to win and beat them. I have seen it – we’ve done it twice now! Of course we will try to win but is very close. It could be the US too, they are a very very good team also.”
Jungnell on his strategy going into the 8th end tied with hammer: “To have it open, no stones in front of the house of course that’s the normal strategy and we would just try to clean it up. But we got some good opportunities and we were lucky that he [Canadian Skip Jim Armstrong] made a draw and we could use that stone to roll and hide but it is always nerve-wracking.”
Canadian Skip Jim Armstrong on his strategy going into the 8th end tied without hammer: “We certainly wanted to get some rocks in play and plug up the centre which we managed to do. We had our opportunity, we had our rock on the button and we were throwing a guard and just got a little wide and didn’t cover. They made a great hit and roll and from then I was left trying to chase them. On my last one, it was kind of iffy if in fact there was enough room. We would’ve had to move all three rocks and carry through the third one through to the button. We tried it. There wasn’t really much in the way of another option so we gave it a whirl and just didn’t make it.”
Patrick McDonald on winning the game: “Last night we had a meeting [after losing their game to Scotland] I was coming up short on everything and I was missing a couple of key parts of my pre-shot routine. First three ends [of their game against China] we had some misses there. They [China] capitalised on it and after that we got into a groove and we hit everything. I can’t say enough about the rest of the guys, they set up stuff and made my shots easy and made it tough for them to get some in.”
Anton Batugin, Coach of Team Russia: “the team has faced a lot of pressure this week. To be a champion is really a big responsibility and I think my guys had a lot on their minds. We will reflect on our performance and draw experience from this for the next time. Next time it will be better. Fifth place for us is the minimum. It is still a good step to be on for next year.”