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Canada's Bottcher defeats Denmark's Noergaard 7-5 at world men's curling championship

CALGARY — Canada's Brendan Bottcher has been challenged in a variety of ways over his first three games at the BKT Tires & OK Tire World Men's Curling Championship.
Team Canada skip Brendan Bottcher makes a shot as he plays Denmark at the Men's World Curling Championships in Calgary, Alta., Saturday, April 3, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh

CALGARY — Canada's Brendan Bottcher has been challenged in a variety of ways over his first three games at the BKT Tires & OK Tire World Men's Curling Championship.

His Edmonton-based team has managed to persevere each time and owns a perfect record as a result.

Bottcher's latest win came Saturday morning with a 7-5 victory over a plucky Danish side skipped by Mads Noergaard. The victory came after Canada opened with a comeback win over Scotland's Bruce Mouat before being tested again by Japan's Yuta Matsumura. 

"It's a lot harder to win when there's some ups and downs, there's a little bit of adversity, you've got to scrape through it a little bit," Bottcher said. "I think in different ways in all three of these games we've had a little bit of that, which is good.

"I think we'll build on that a little bit through the next few days, hopefully pick up momentum and start bringing our best game a little more often. I really like where we're at right now."

Bottcher stole a pair in the fifth end for a 6-2 lead and sealed the win in the 10th end when Danish fourth Mikkel Krause's final stone was heavy. That eliminated the need for Canada to throw its last rock.  

Bottcher, vice Darren Moulding, second Brad Thiessen and lead Karrick Martin were all in form as every player threw at least 86 per cent. 

"The first couple games we were building some momentum and then really today I thought we came out of the gate really strong," Bottcher said.

Noergaard throws second stones for Denmark, a team that's also making its world championship debut. Krause, the low man on the day at 66 per cent, was forced to draw for a single in the first end for Denmark's only lead of the game.

Bottcher scored deuces in three of the next four ends, with a slick hit and roll setting up a steal of two in the fifth. Krause was light on his draw against three.

Denmark had a chance at a pair to get back in the game in the seventh, but Krause rubbed a guard to give up another steal.

Bottcher was heavy with a draw in nine to allow Denmark to pull within two. In the 10th, Krause was sitting one under cover but watched his final stone roll just beyond the 12-foot ring.

The Canadian team had the rest of the day off ahead of a Sunday morning matchup against Switzerland's Peter de Cruz, an 8-5 winner over Germany's Sixten Totzek. 

In other early games, Sweden's Niklas Edin defeated John Shuster of the United States 8-5 and Scotland posted a 9-4 win over Jaap van Dorp of the Netherlands.

Shuster rebounded in the afternoon draw with a 7-5 win over Totzek and Edin needed an extra end for a 7-6 win over Italy's Joel Retornaz. The Russian Curling Federation's Sergey Glukhov defeated China's Qiang Zou 10-6 and Norway's Steffen Walstad dumped South Korea's Yeong-Seok Jeong 9-2. 

Saturday's evening action saw Switzerland down Japan 8-5 and Denmark rout the Netherlands 14-5. Walstad and the Norwegians took a 9-5 win over China and Scotland's Mouat handed the South Koreans a thorough 11-4 loss. 

Round-robin play continues through Friday afternoon.

Norway sat in the top spot at 4-0 after six draws, with Canada, the Russian Curling Federation and Switzerland close behind with 3-0. Scotland was next with 3-1 ahead of Italy, Sweden and the U.S. at 2-1.

Japan was 1-2 while Denmark was 1-3. Germany remained winless at 0-3 and China, South Korea, and the Netherlands lingered behind at 0-4.

The top two finishers in the 14-team round robin earn byes to the semifinals on April 10. Teams sitting third through sixth will compete in qualification games with winners to reach the final four.

Medal games are set for April 11. The top six teams will also earn spots for their respective countries at the 2022 Winter Olympics in Beijing.

Edin beat Canada's Kevin Koe in the 2019 world championship final in Lethbridge, Alta. The 2020 event was cancelled due to the pandemic.

No spectators are allowed in the WinSport Arena, which was also the case at the recent Canadian men's, women's and mixed doubles championships. 

Two Grand Slams are next on the bubble calendar before the world women's playdowns in late April.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published April 3, 2021. 

The Canadian Press

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