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Russia repeat as World Champions

Andrey Smirnov, Konstantin Kurokhtin, Svetlana Pakhomova,
Anton Batugin, Marat Romanov, Alexander Shevchenko
Photo: © WCF / Céline Stucki 2016

 Scroll down for daily results and standings

The WCF event website is HERE

  .  
   

Final Standings
(click on team for team photo and members)

 
Team

 

Won

 

Lost

 

Points
+
Points
-
Steals
+
Steals
-
 GOLD Russia 9 2 79 48 21 12
 SILVER Norway 8 3 75 53 28 11
 BRONZE Korea 7 5 70 60 12 14
 4 Switzerland 7 4 70 51 24 12
 5 China 4 5 57 64 9 16
 6  USA 4 5 61 64 12 10
 7 Canada 3 6 45 59 9 17
 8 Germany 4 6 45 59 11 18
 R Slovakia 3 7 44 68 10 17
 R Finland 2 7 42 65 11 20
    Germany 7 - 2 Slovakia tie-break decided 2nd relegation place
  .  
   

February 28 - Medal games

Russia, the only one of the four teams that played for medals to have competed last year, defended their title beating Norway 7-4 in the final. Norway had previously beaten Korea 7-4 in the semi-final> Korea took bronze from hosts Switzerland, who faded to four straight losses after opening the tournament with seven successive wins.

Norway stole an early 3-1 lead against Korea in the semi-final and cemented their 7-4 win with a steal in the final end. Korea then played Switzerland in the bronze medal game. Despite giving up steals in the 4th, 5th and 6th Korea;s 3 in the 7th tied the score at 5 and the then stole a single in the 8th end for a 6-5 win. It was Korea's first medal since their silver as hosts of the 2012 Worlds.

In the gold medal game, Russia opened with two steals against Norway then with the scores level 2-2, posted a crushing 5 after the break. Facing 4 Norwegian skip Rune Lorentsen's attempted tap-up was heavy, allowing Andrey Smirnov a draw into the house for a 5th point.

Rune said he regretted his mistakes in the 5th end. "It's hard to pull back from a 5, but Russia beat us three times, and they deserved their win."

February 27 - Page playoff

Defending champions Russia took on 2015's bottom placed team Norway in the 1 vs 2 Page playoff game. With scores tied at the break, Russia stole single points in 5 and 6, and faced 3 Norwegian stones in the 8 foot with his final rock. Though heavy and wide for the attempted hit and roll, his shot caught enough of the back Norwegian stone to score a point and a 5-3 win.

The other newly promoted team, Korea, played Switzerland. They blanked their first 3 ends before the Swiss stole 2 before the break. Korea's 3 in the 7th put them ahead before Switzerland tied the game in the 8th. Korea posted a 6-4 extra end win when Swiss skip Wagner's last rock draw, facing 2, clipped a guard.

February 27 - Draw 12 & Tie-break

The stakes for Germany in the last draw game were not quite as high as opponents Canada. While Canada would have been relegated with a loss, Germany would still have the chance to avoid relegation through a tie-break with Slovakia. In the event single point steals in the 2nd, 7th and 8th ends saw Canada claw their way to safety with a 6-3 win.

One can imagine the relief of first time coach Wayne Kiel, appointed without a track record of participation in wheelchair curling. Skip Jim Armstrong praised his team for grinding out a 3-6 record, but domestic players might feel that several provincial teams could have done as well at grinding.

Germany went on the beat Slovakia 7-2 in the relegation tie-break. Canada, with the same round robin record, had beaten both teams in head to head play.

USA fell one win short of a challenge for a playoff place, twice giving up 4 enders in a 13-5 loss to China.

February 26 - Draw 10 & 11

Russia bullied their way past North America and into Friday's 1 vs playoff with a 7-2 win over Canada and a 10-7 defeat of USA, earned with a steal of 3 in the 8th. They will play Norway who gave Switzerland their first defeat 7-2 by stealing single points in the last four ends. Switzerland, after leading all week, dropped into 3rd place when they lost 7-4 to China in the afternoon draw.

Korea lost an opportunity to grab the final playoff spot after a 8-6 loss to Germany. Down  6-4 after 7 they tied the game with a steal of 2 in the 8th, but surrendered a deuce in the extra. Germany lifted their record to 4-4 by dealing Finland a relegation blow. A 5 in the 7th provided the 8-2 victory. If Germany beat Canada tomorrow, they'll face Korea in a tie-break.

Depending on the results of Friday's close-out two games, there could be as many as 4 teams on 3-6 desperate to avoid the final 2 relegation places. Canada, after losing to Russia, gave themselves hope when they finally got away to a strong start against Norway with an opening 3. They still found themselves tied after 5 ends, but emerged with a vital 8-5 win. They will be looking for a win over Germany to force a tie-break involving Slovakia, Germany and possibly China depending on their result against USA.

All to play for in Draw 12 tomorrow. A USA win over China earns them a tie-break for 4th, and pushes China into a relegation battle. If Germany beat Canada, Canada are relegated and they can ask Scotland how tough it is to regain your place through Qualifying. If Germany lose, they join Canada, Slovakia and possibly China in relegation tie-breaks.

February 25 - Draw 8 & 9

Hosts Switzerland remain the only unbeaten team, seeing off challengers Korea 7 - 2, and Russia 9 - 6 in a game where they scored the last 6 points, 3 in an extra end.

Norway suffered their first loss in a defensive duel with Russia. The first four ends were blanked but Russia's 2 in the 7th was enough to secure a 3-1 win. Both Norway and Switzerland have claimed playoff spots.

Previously winless Finland finally found some form after being 5-1 down to morning opponent Slovakia. They scored 7 unanswered points for an 8-5 victory and then faced hapless Canada, sealing a 10-2 win with a 4 in the 7th. Canada's loss left them adrift at the bottom of the table, now hoping their final three games, all against contending teams, will enable them to avoid relegation. 

USA have worked their way into 5th, an early 6 point lead over Slovakia securing a 10-3 win. They are competing with Russia, Korea, and Germany for the remaining playoff spots after China continued their disappointing form with losses to Germany and Korea.

February 24 - Draw 6 & 7

Norway and Switzerland remain unbeaten after 4 days of round robin play, Norway were assured winners in their 6-2 defeat of Korea, while neighbours Finland played them tough in the afternoon, but missed their opportunity for a first win when Skip Markku Karjalainen was light on a last rock draw that gave up a steal, rather than levelling the score.

German skip Jens Jager has not played since game 2 and Switzerland closed out Germany 7-3 with a steal of 2 in the 7th. They then defeated USA 8-2. Ahead by 4 points at the break, their steal of 2 in the 5th sealed the win.

Canada were always in control against Slovakia, closing out their first win with 4 in the 7th. A relieved Skip Jim Armstrong said afterwards: We’re not used to losing, we’re certainly not used to stringing them together but we’ve been struggling, there’s no question about that.

That's true for team performance with Armstrong at skip, and will help the self-belief of the other teams that Canada even with Armstrong, can be beaten. Canada have yet to play Russia and Norway, and must avoid another loss to keep podium hopes alive.    

February 23 - Draw 4 & 5

Norway are at the top of the table at 4-0, a game ahead of also undefeated Switzerland. Norway fell behind Slovakia and were tied going into the last end before posting a 7-5 win. Switzerland had to work to beat winless Finland, taking 2 in the 8th for a 6-5 win.

Canada are the other team yet to post a victory. Alternate Sonja Gaudet, the sole survivor of the 2006 Torino gold medal team, was given a game against China in place of Dennis Thiessen. Canada fell behind 5-0 after 3 ends and despite rallying to level the scores, lost 8-7 after an extra end. They did however post their first two steals of the tournament, but were unable to build on that as they surrendered 7-3 to Korea in the afternoon draw. They will be hearing Vic Rauter's voice asking whether four losses is too many. It will be unless they run the table.

Germany posted their first win, 6-5 over USA, bookending a steal of 2 in the 1st and a deuce with hammer in the 8th. Finland were unable to build on their competitive morning performance, running into an American buzsaw in the afternoon, losing 11-2.

February 22 - Draw 2 & 3

Canada continued their slow start, losing to USA for the second year running, this time 9-6. Single point steals in the first two and last two ends were the margin of America's victory.

Norway are the early leaders after posting emphatic wins over Germany and China, who despite scoring 4 in the 6th were unable to undo the damage from giving up 6 in the 4th end.

Hosts Switzerland remain unbeaten. They raced out to a stolen 5 point lead against Slovakia only to see it evaporate at the break. They finished strong though with steals of 1 in the 6th and 3 in the 7th for an 11-5 win,

Korea lost a tight game to Russia before pounding the Finns, who are finding Lucerne less hospitable then last year's home ice in Lohja. They Join Germany and Canada in looking for their first win.

February 21 - Draw 1

Canada got off to a slow start against hosts Switzerland who opened with a deuce with hammer and then took three consecutive single steals to go ahead 5 - 0 at the break. Though Canada opened the second half with two, a single and another steal saw the Swiss ease out 7-2 winners.

Life was tougher for Germany, flattened by defending powerhouse Russia 12-1. USA gave up a 3 and a 4 in a 10-4 loss to Norway.

Preview

Canada will be relieved to have Jim Armstrong return. With him since 2006 they have won two Paralympic and three World titles Without him they have failed to reach the podium, coming within one loss last year of a relegation tie-break, or as program Director Gerry Peckham chose to describe it, one win from a playoff tie-break. The team disappointed at this year's Canadian Open but won the Cathy Kerr, wheelchair curling's largest international event, in November.

Coaching changes see Saskatchewan Wayne Kiel, a high performance coach with no previous wheelchair curling experience, take over from Joe Rea. He travels as Team Leader/snack preparer replacing Wendy Morgan who takes on that role for Team Jennifer Jones.

Scotland are notable absentees, suffering relegation and subsequent failure at the Worlds Qualifying tournament despite full-time players. Their coach, Tony Zummack, has since been promoted to overall charge of British curling.

Scotland (and Sweden) need not worry that their absence will affect their chance to compete in the 2018 Paralympics. Any team with qualification points earned at the 2015 Worlds will qualify because the 2018 field is being expanded to 12 teams.

Defending champions Russia showed their ambition by competing in Canada in November. Konstantin Kurokhtin joins a settled squad at 3rd. China have won medals at the last 4 events though not yet gold. They appear to have brought an entirely new team to Lucerne.

The high point for Germany was their bronze in 2009. Ebullient skip Jens Jager came out the loser in a political battle over who ran wheelchair curling in Germany. His vice, Marcus Sieger, was chosen to skip the team in 2011 only to see them relegated. Jens skipped last year, winning a tie-break that doomed Scotland, and will hope to build on that escape.

Norway, relegated last year, were emphatic Qualifying winners. Skip Rune Lorentsen and Third Jostein Stordahl have played together since 2007 and boast 2 World titles, though in less competitive times. As with any team with a quad throwing 4th stones, Norway struggles when they need up-weight shots with final stones. They've had a succession of coaches since Thoralf Hognestad. Peter Dahlman works this year.

USA came within a German circus shot of claiming the podium in 2009 but still await the break through. Skip Patrick McDonald relocated his family to Wisconsin to further his curling opportunities yet appears diffident on the ice, and might be less distracted if his lead kept her opinions to herself.

Finland was the surprise team of 2015, though as host despite no record of previous success, might have been fancied to make an impression. Changes at 2nd and alternate and a move away from home ice will present a challenge. Slovakia bring in Branislav Jakubec at 3rd and are still looking for their first medal. Last year they beat Finland in the 3 vs 4 game, but under WCF rules, had to play again for 3rd place, this time losing to Finland.

Korea is the girl with a curl of the wheelchair curling world: when they are good they are very very good, and when they are bad they are horrid. As Paralympic hosts in 2018 it can be assumed they will be taking the next two Worlds more seriously than occasionally in the past.

Finally Switzerland have been out of the picture since 2010 and showed ambition by joining Russia in competing in Ontario last November. We'll have to see whether home ice will make up for a lack of competitive experience at this level.

   

.

   

Standings after Round Robin
(click on team for team photo and members)

 
Team

 

Won

 

Lost

 

Points
+
Points
-
Steals
+
Steals
-
 Q Norway 7 2 61 37 23 7
 Q Russia 7 2 67 41 18 8
 Q Switzerland 7 2 61 39 20 10
 Q  Korea 5 4 54 44 10 8
 5 China 4 5 57 64 9 16
 6  USA 4 5 61 64 12 10
 7 Canada 3 6 45 59 9 17
 8 Germany 3 6 38 57 10 18
 R Slovakia 3 6 42 61 10 18
 R Finland 2 7 42 65 11 20
    Germany 7 - 2 Slovakia tie-break decided 2nd relegation place
   
   
Results and draws
(times are local - for GMT subtract 2 hours)
Date
Feb
 
Sheet A
Sheet B
Sheet C
Sheet D
21 16.30 NOR v USA
10 - 4
CAN v SUI
2 - 7
  GER v RUS
1 - 12
22 10.30 CHN v FIN
9 - 6
RUS v KOR
8 - 7
NOR v GER
8 - 3
SUI v SVK
11 - 5
  15.30 USA v CAN
9 - 6
NOR v CHN
11 - 5
SVK v RUS
8 - 5
KOR v FIN
11 - 1
23 10.30 SVK v KOR
2 - 4
USA v GER
5 - 6
FIN v SUI
5 - 6
CAN v CHN
7 - 8
  15.30 RUS v CHN
 11 - 2
SVK v NOR
5 - 7
CAN v KOR
3 - 7
FIN v USA
2 - 11
24 10.30  SUI v GER
7 - 3 
RUS v FIN
7 - 4
CHN v SVK
4 - 5
NOR v KOR
6 - 2
  15.30 FIN v NOR
4 - 6  
KOR v GER
7 - 4
USA v SUI
 2 - 8
SVK v CAN
3 - 9
25 10.30 KOR v SUI 
2 - 7
NOR v RUS
1 - 3
SVK v FIN
5 - 8
CHN v GER
4 - 7
  15.30 USA v SVK
10 - 3 
FIN v CAN
10 - 2
KOR v CHN
8 - 5
RUS v SUI
6 - 9
26 10.30 CAN v RUS
2 - 7
GER v SVK
3 - 6
SUI v NOR
3 - 7
USA v KOR
8 - 6
  15.30 GER v FIN
8 - 2
SUI v CHN
4 - 7
RUS v USA
10 - 7
CAN v NOR
8 - 5
27 9.00 CHN v USA
13 - 5 
GER v CAN
3 - 6

 
14.00 Tie Break    GER  7 - 2  SLV
  17.00  1 vs 2      NOR 3 - 5 RUS  3 v 4 SUI 4 - 6  KOR
 28 10.00  Semi-final    NOR 7 - 4  KOR
15.00  Gold      RUS  7 - 4 NOR

Bronze    SUI  5 - 6 KOR
   

 

Team Canada

Fourth Jim Armstrong (Skip)
Third Ina Forrest
Second Dennis Thiessen
Lead Skip Mark Ideson
Alternate Sonja Gaudet

Coach Wayne Kiel

   

    Team China

Fourth - Yulong SUN 
Third - Xinyue YU
Second - Jianxin CHEN  (Skip)
Lead - Lichun XU 
Alternate - Tao CHEN 

Coach - Xia RU (F)
Team Finland

Fourth - Markku KARJALAINEN (Skip
Third - Sari KARJALAINEN
Second - Yrjo JAASKELAINEN
Lead - Tuomo AARNIKKA
Alternate - Riitta SAROSALO

Coach - Lauri IKAVALKO
   
    Team Bermany
 
Fourth - Jens JAEGER (Skip)
Third - Christiane PUTZICH
Second - Martin SCHLITT
Lead - Heike MELCHIOR
Alternate - Harry PAVEL

Coach  Bernd Weisser

Team Korea

Fourth - Hui-Tae YANG (Skip)
Third - Seung-Won JUNG
Second - Soon-Seok SEO
Lead - Min-ja BANG
Alternate - Jae-Goan CHA

Coach - Jong Chul BEAK
 
  

Team Norway

 Fourth - Rune LORENTSEN (Skip)
Third - Jostein STORDAHL
Second - Ole Fredrik SYVERSEN
Lead - Sissel LOECHEN
Alternate - Jan-Erik HANSEN (M)

Coach - Peter DAHLMAN

Team Russia 

Fourth - Andrey SMIRNOV (Skip)
Third - Konstantin KUROKHTIN
Second - Svetlana PAKHOMOVA
Lead - Alexander SHEVCHENKO
Alternate - Marat ROMANOV

  Coach - Anton BATUGIN

     

     Team Slovakia

Fourth - Radoslav DURIS (Skip)
Third - Dusan PITONAK
Second - Peter ZATKO
Lead - Monika KUNKELOVA
Alternate - Imrich LYOCSA

Coach  Frantisek Pitonak

Team Switzerland

Fourth - Felix WAGNER (Skip)
Third - Eric DECORVET
Second - Claudia HUETTENMOSER
Lead - Beatrix BLAUEL
Alternate - Marcel BODENMANN

Coach - Stephan PFISTER

   

   

Team USA

Fourth - Patrick McDONALD (Skip)
Third - Stephen EMT
Second - James JOSEPH
Lead - Penny GREELY
Alternate - Justin MARSHALL

Coach Steve Brown

 
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