Koe has work to do at men’s curling championship

BEIJING — Canada’s Kevin Koe is on the playoff bubble at the world men’s curling championship after splitting his games Wednesday at Capital Gymnasium.

BEIJING — Canada’s Kevin Koe is on the playoff bubble at the world men’s curling championship after splitting his games Wednesday at Capital Gymnasium.

The veteran skip and his Calgary-based team beat Switzerland’s Peter de Cruz 8-4 before dropping a 6-2 decision to Sweden’s Oskar Eriksson in the evening draw.

“It’s disappointing, that was a big game for us and we couldn’t pull (it) out,” said Koe.

“That’s a tough one. Just one of those games where we would build a big end and he’d come up with a good shot and I couldn’t answer.

“I had a few chances. I missed a triple for three (in the sixth end) and kind of miscalled the line again. Just one of those games — off by a couple inches.”

Canada was tied with Switzerland at 6-3 after 14 draws of play. Norway’s Thomas Ulsrud was in first place at 8-1 and Japan’s Yusuke Morozumi was next at 7-2.

Round-robin play wraps up Thursday with Canada set to play Germany’s Johnny Jahr and Scotland’s Ewan MacDonald.

The top four teams will make the playoffs.

Canada still has a chance to qualify for the 1-2 Page Playoff game Friday. The winner of that game advances straight to the gold-medal game and the loser will play in Saturday’s semifinal against the winner of the 3-4 Page Playoff game.

The 3-4 loser and semifinal loser will play for the bronze medal Sunday before the gold-medal game.

Sweden scored six single points in the win over Canada, including steals in the second, fifth and sixth ends. Eriksson moved into a fifth-place tie with China’s Rui Liu at 5-4.

“That win was huge,” Eriksson said. “We lost to Switzerland this morning so we had to win this to stay in the race. We made some big shots. I made an important double in the second end to stay alive or else we would lose four. We played really good after that.

“Our goal is to get into the playoffs and finish off with a medal.”

Norway locked up a playoff spot with an 11-2 rout of Russia’s Evgeny Arkhipov (1-8). Japan, meanwhile, scored a deuce in the 10th end for an 8-7 win over Germany.

Koe won gold at his only previous appearance at the 2010 world championship in Cortina d’Ampezzo, Italy.

“Our backs are against the wall and we just have to worry about making the playoffs,” he said.

“I don’t know what all the scenarios are but if we can get to 8-and-3, we know we’ll be in the playoffs. We’ve come through the long way in the playoffs a lot of times.

“Just get us in there, give us a chance and we like our chances.”

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