Canada is Curling’s traditional power, so it’s fitting that Canadian teams won the men’s women’s and Mixed Doubles divisions in the first leg of the first edition of the World Curling Federation’s World Cup, in Suzhou (CHN). The format was tough: only the group winners advanced to play in the final! As it turned out, that was fine for the red-and-white:
∙ Men: In group play, Steffen Walstad’s Norway won Group A (5-1) and Kevin Koe’s Canada (5-1) won Group B and qualified for the final. Koe, who skipped the 2016 World Champions, took a 3-1 lead in the second end and was up 5-2 after four ends and managed to hold on for a 6-5 win.
∙ Women: Sweden’s Olympic Champion skip Anna Hasselborg led her group with a 5-1 record and qualified to face Canada’s Rachel Homen (5-1) in the final. Homan led the 2017 World Championship gold medalists and had her squad up, 3-0, after three ends, but the Swedes closed to 4-3 after scoring twice in the sixth end. After a scoreless seventh, the Canadians managed to score three in the eighth to end the match with a deceiving 7-3 margin.
∙ Mixed Doubles: Sarah Anderson and Korey Dropkin of the U.S. swept through their group with a perfect, 6-0 record. They ended up facing Laura Walker and Kirk Muyres of Canada, which won their group at 5-1. In the final, the U.S. went up 2-0 in the first end and was up, 4-3, after four ends. But the game turned in the fifth end, when the Canadians came up with three points and then put up single points in ends six and seven to close a 7-3 win.
“We might not have come out with the W in the end, but I think we’re really happy with how we played,” said Anderson. “We just needed a couple more shots. It just came down to execution and we missed a few shots on the wrong side.”
The second leg of the four-part World Cup series will come to Omaha, Nebraska in the U.S., starting on 5 December.