CORTINA D’AMPEZZO, Italy — Kevin Koe’s perfect run at the Capital One World Men’s Curling Championship is over.
Veteran German Andreas Kapp posted a 9-6 win over the Edmonton skip Tuesday, ending a six-game winning streak in Koe’s tournament debut.
Koe opened the day with a dominating 6-2 win over Scotland’s Warwick Smith to take sole possession of first place in the standings at 6-0.
But the Canadians struggled in the evening draw, eventually losing to a Kapp rink desperate for win to keep its playoff hopes alive.
“Well, we didn’t play well and that’s what happens,” said Koe. “That was a big win for them and not a good loss for us. We kind of gave away the game early and just didn’t play well.”
Koe said Kapp’s experience played part in the win.
“These guys have been around,” said Koe. “This is about their 15th worlds, they’ve played lots of these and they played well.”
The loss dropped Koe into a three-way tie with Scotland and Norway atop the standings at 6-1. Smith rebounded from the loss to Koe by beating the Germans 7-4 in the afternoon draw while Norway hammered Switzerland 7-1 then beat host Italy 10-5.
Denmark improved to 5-1 after a 10-4 win over Sweden and a 7-6 extra-end victory over Japan. Germany and the U.S. finished the day tied at 4-3. Kapp said it’s always nice to beat Canada.
“But it’s more important just to keep contact with the top,” he added. “That would have been another tough loss, because we’ve already lost three tight games.”
The German skip said he may have surprised Koe with his aggressive play.
“Maybe they didn’t expect that we would play the same aggressive way as they play,” said Kapp. “The game was fun, with a lot of come-arounds and tap-backs. And, at the end, if you win 9-6 against Canada, good.”
Canada opened with a deuce in the first end but gave up three in the second when Koe’s attempted clear-out moved every rock except for the German counter he was trying to hit. The teams swapped singles in the third and fourth before Koe moved ahead with two in the fifth.
But Germany scored one in the sixth and stole a single in the seventh to take a 6-5 lead.
In the eighth, Koe was unable to find a piece of the button with his second rock to score two and had to settle for a single.
Koe missed a tough double attempt in the ninth, leaving the Germans to score two. Kapp stole one in the 10th to secure the win.
It was a different story in the morning draw as Koe dominated the veteran Scots, who had defending champion David Murdoch sitting on the bench as an alternate. The game was one of the most one-sided of the tournament so far, lasting just six ends.
The tone was set from the start, with Scottish third David Smith having an uncharacteristic miss on a takeout attempt in the first end, followed by a perfect Koe freeze that eventually led to Canada stealing one.
Good Canadian play forced Warwick Smith to draw for one in the second. In the third, when an attempted Scottish clear-out failed, Koe had an easy draw for three and a 4-1 lead.
Warwick Smith tried an unsuccessful angled raise in the fourth to give up a single steal his final draw was heavy and wide in the fifth to yield another steal of one to Canada.
The Scots tried to finish the game after the fifth but world rules dictate that six ends must be played.
“We’ll just bin that and start again,” Warwick Smith said. “If you get that far down against a great team like Canada, you’re as well getting off the ice to start preparing for the next game.”
Koe was surprised by the rout.
“We didn’t expect that, of course not,” he said. “We expected a much tighter game. But you know what? We played great and hardly missed a shot all game.”