MONCTON, N.B. — Scotland’s David Murdoch proved that Canada’s Kevin Martin isn’t invincible, after all.
Martin won’t have to wait long for a chance at payback.
Murdoch earned a 6-5 extra-end victory in the marquee matchup of Draw 17 at the Ford World Men’s Curling Championship on Thursday. Murdoch broke open a tightly played game by making a double takeout to score three in the eighth end.
Martin, the defending world champion, battled back with a single in the ninth and a steal of one in the 10th, but Murdoch scored a single point in the 11th end for the victory.
The win moved Scotland to 8-3 and guaranteed Murdoch second place, setting up a rematch in the 1-versus-2 Page playoff game today.
“It was a big game for us,” said Murdoch.
“We didn’t want to rely on other teams because if things went wrong for us we were looking at the three-four game.
“We were pretty focused on trying to play a good game and these guys haven’t had a tough game all week so it’s good that we came out and played one of our better games.”
The question is whether Scotland can beat Canada twice more.
“We know we’re going to have to play extremely well again,” Murdoch acknowledged.
“Those guys are a really tough team.”
Martin, who had already wrapped up first place going into the playoffs on Wednesday, shrugged off the loss.
“Well at least you won’t be asking me questions about being undefeated,” chuckled Martin.
“I never like to lose a game, that’s for sure. They earned it and played good.”
Martin went through the Canadian men’s curling championship undefeated with 13 straight wins and had won 10 straight here before the loss. Most people wouldn’t bet on him losing two more.
“I don’t think I’ll have much trouble bouncing back from that one,” said Martin.
“Our goal was to get first place and to get the hammer. We got that and we come out in the one-two game, with hammer, and do our best.”
Four teams finished the round robin tied at 7-4.
As a result, Norway’s Thomas Ulsrud will meet John Shuster of the United States in one Friday tiebreaker while Andy Kapp of Germany takes on Ralph Stoeckli of Switzerland in the other.
The two winners will play in the 3-versus-4 Page playoff game on Saturday.
Shuster trailed France 6-3 after seven ends, but scored single points in the eighth and ninth ends and completed the stunning comeback with a steal of four in the 10th.
“Oh my God. The guys played a perfect 10th for us,” said an emotional Shuster. “I feel we got another (win) that we didn’t necessarily deserve.”
Stoeckli won his fifth straight game since turning over skipping duties to second Markus Eggler.
“It’s only a tiebreaker but we’re still alive,” said Stoeckli, who continues to throw fourth stones for the team. “We still have to win a game to make the playoffs but it’s nice to still be in and to have another chance.”
Under the Page Playoff system the top two teams play with the winner going directly to the gold-medal game. The loser then gets a second chance to make the final by taking on the winner of the third and fourth-place teams.