The parity among the elite teams has been on full display this week at the world men’s curling championship.
It has resulted in a playoff picture that remained quite unsettled after Friday’s early draw at the Enmax Centre.
Canada’s Kevin Koe dumped Switzerland’s Peter De Cruz 10-3 to improve his chances of making the six-team cut for weekend play.
WATCH | Canada cruises past Switzerland:
Switzerland’s final stone in the second end picked, allowing Kevin Koe’s Canadian rink to score five, en route to a 10-3 win at the world men’s curling championship on Friday. 1:04
Sweden’s Niklas Edin (10-1) locked up the No. 1 seed with his 8-4 win over American John Shuster. Japan’s Yuta Matsumura has also locked up a playoff spot at 8-3.
With two round-robin draws remaining, five teams were still in the mix for four playoff positions.
“There’s no easy games out here,” Koe said. “It just seems like anyone can beat anyone. A good team is probably not going to make the playoffs here.”
Canada could lock up a playoff spot with a win over Jaap Van Dorp of the Netherlands on Friday night. Koe could also get in if other results go his way.
After 18 draws, Canada, Japan and Switzerland were tied at 8-3. Italy’s Joel Retornaz was alone in fifth place at 7-3 and the United States was sixth at 7-4. Scotland’s Bruce Mouat was below the cutline at 6-4.
“There’s a bit of separation from the top teams and the bottom teams,” Koe said. “Not a lot of upsets here. I guess when that happens, more than half the field is going to have a chance.”
Koe opened with a deuce against De Cruz and scored five when Switzerland’s final stone picked in the second end.
“That was pretty much ball game,” said Canada lead Ben Hebert. “Hey, you need breaks. We haven’t had a lot of breaks this week to be honest with you. So I’m thrilled to get a couple.”
The teams shook hands after the minimum six ends.
In other early games, Germany’s Marc Muskatewitz beat China’s Qiang Zou 6-4 and Russia’s Sergey Glukhov defeated Norway’s Magnus Ramsfjell 8-5.
Tiebreaker games are not used at this event. Head-to-head records and cumulative last stone draw statistics are used to break ties.
The top two seeds get semifinal berths.
Qualification games (No. 3 versus No. 6 and No. 4 versus No. 5) are set for Saturday morning with winners to advance.
“Definitely not afraid of it if that’s the route we’ve got to go,” Koe said. “If you can get in those games and play well and get on a roll, you’ve got as good a chance as anybody.”
Medal games will be played Sunday.
The last Canadian team to miss the playoffs at this competition was the rink skipped by Jack MacDuff in 1976. He went 2-7 that year in Duluth, Minn., and missed the four-team cut.
Canada has never missed the playoffs at both the men’s and women’s world championships in the same season.
Canada’s Chelsea Carey finished eighth at last month’s playdowns in Silkeborg, Denmark. The women’s world championship was first held in 1979.
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