MONCTON, N.B. — It’s a case of double jeopardy for Canada’s Kevin Martin at the Ford World Men’s Curling Championship.
Martin, who waltzed through the Brier with 13 straight wins and rolled to 10 victories in a row at the world championship, lost his second game in a row to David Murdoch of Scotland 7-5 on Friday.
As a result Martin is in jeopardy and will need to win a sudden death semifinal Saturday evening to make it to the gold medal game and get a third crack at Scotland.
Martin was held to a single point in the first end and gave up a rare three in the third and an even rarer steal in the fourth to fall behind 4-1.
“It was tough sledding,” said a frustrated Martin after the game.
“They put more pressure on us than we put on them and it was just hard to make good shots so hats off to them. They made us make more tough ones and it was just hard to do that.”
Martin said he expects he will be able to bounce back, pointing out he also lost back-to-back games to Randy Ferbey and Wayne Middaugh before going on to win the Canada Cup.
“It’s fine. I’m a pretty positive thinker and we’re throwing it pretty good so we’ll give her both barrels and see what happens,” Martin added.
Murdoch, who won the championship in 2006, said it was a good effort.
“I think we were on top for most of the game so you’ve got to be happy with that,” Murdoch said.
“Obviously it’s a huge thing because we’ve done something right,” he added.
The Scottish champion fully expects there will be a third game with Martin on Sunday with the gold medal on the line.
“Hopefully we’ll get a rematch on Sunday. I know they want the rematch and they’re great champions,” he added.
“Those guys are still an amazing team and they put the rocks in some real nasty places.”
Switzerland won its sixth straight game following a disastrous start to make it to Saturday’s three-vs-four playoff game.
Ralph Stoeckli limped out of the gate but made some internal changes that has them on a red hot tear. And the changes might be strangely familiar to Canadian curling fans.
Stoeckli continued to throw final stones but turned skipping duties over to his second Markus Eggler. It’s exactly what happened with Brad Gushue of Newfoundland and Labrador when he added Russ Howard to his squad. Howard skipped through the Olympic curling trials and then helped Gushue win a gold medal at the 2006 Olympics.
“That’s more how you would call a coincidence. It wasn’t planned at all and actually Russ himself is not a big fan of it,” said Stoeckli moments after hitting for a single point to beat Germany’s Andy Kapp 8-7 in a Friday tiebreaker.
Switzerland will face Norway’s Thomas Ulsrud in the Saturday playoff.
Elsewhere, Norway pounded the United States 10-2.
“This is Team Norway for you — you never know what you’re going to get — you can get mediocre or you can get like today where the whole team made everything,” chuckled Ulsrud.
“I wish I had the key for why yesterday we played mediocre and today I think we can match everybody. We still have a pretty good shot now,” he said. “We’ve played Switzerland lots in Europe so they’re always tight matches and I think if we played like we did today we have a pretty good chance.”