Road To The Olympic Games

Stoughton continues hot start at curling worlds

Canada's Jeff Stoughton improved to 3-0 at the Ford World Men's Curling Championship with a 7-4 victory over Germany's Andy Kapp on Sunday. Stoughton's rink from Winnipeg scored two in the third and seventh ends and stole one in the 10th while Germany couldn't muster a multi-point end when it had last-rock advantage.

Canada beats Germany 7-4

Canada's Jeff Stoughton picked up his third straight win to open the Ford Men's World Curling Championship on Sunday despite German skip Andy Kapp's one-man show.

Stoughton's Winnipeg team shot 90 per cent to Germany's 71 in a 7-4 victory, but Kapp compensated for his teammates' mistakes with some pressure shots to keep the game close.

"Andy Kapp was a one-man wrecking crew," said Stoughton third Jon Mead. "At times it felt like seven against one out there.

"We have to give credit to Andy Kapp because that could have been a blowout for sure."

Canada scored two points in the third and seventh ends with last-rock advantage and stole one in the tenth, while Germany couldn't muster a multi-point end when they had the hammer.

Kapp drew for a piece of the button surrounded by three Canadian stones in the fourth end to tie the game 2-2. The Germany skip faced four Canadian counters in the sixth and again drew in for one to make it 3-3.

"It's good to know we've got the game to hold off a hot skip and make some great shots ourselves," Stoughton said.

Stoughton's front end of second Reid Carruthers and lead Steve Gould dominated German counterparts Andreas Lang and Holger Hoehne with shooting percentages about 20 per cent higher.

"I had to make some circus shots to keep us alive, but it was not enough to win this game," Kapp said. "We needed to make more shots to put pressure on them, but we were under pressure the whole game."

Canada got a breather Sunday with just on game on the schedule before splitting their Monday games between the morning and evening draws. Stoughton takes on Dong Keun Lee of South Korea (0-3) followed by Pete Fenson of the U.S. (1-2) at night.

Scotland's Tom Brewster moved into a tie with Stoughton at 3-0 with a 10-6 win over Switzerland's Christof Schwaller in Sunday's late draw.

Yansong Ji of China entered the late draw unbeaten, but fell 8-5 to Jiri Snitil of the Czech Republic.

In other late draw results, Sweden's Niklas Edin hammered Fenson 11-2 and Kapp rebounded to edge Norway's Thomas Ulsrud 9-8.

Kapp, in his 13th world championship, earned his 67th career win, the most by any skip in championship history.

China, the Czechs, Sweden and France were all tied for third at 2-1.

Germany, Switzerland, Norway and the U.S. followed at 1-2.

Tommy Stjerne of Denmark and South Korea were winless at 0-3.

The preliminary round concludes Thursday, with the four best records in the field of 12 countries advancing to the Page playoff next weekend.

"You hate to stumble because it gives guys a chance, so we want to go strong and get as many wins as possible before we get a loss," said Stoughton, winner of the world title in 1996 and runner-up in 1999.

Ulsrud, considered a contender for the world title after winning Olympic and world silver medals last year, lost both his games Sunday after needing an extra end to get by South Korea 8-7 in his opener Saturday.

"It is a little bit of a surprise because he's struggling, but I don't expect them not to be playing on the weekend," Stoughton said.

Canada's three games on the weekend drew near-capacity crowds to Regina's Brandt Centre, which holds about 6,300. Stoughton's team curls out of the Charleswood Curling Club in Winnipeg, but they've been well-supported in Saskatchewan.

"Truth be told, we haven't given them a lot to cheer about, because it's sort of been a mucker game," Stoughton said. "Every game has been not that exciting, just try and get a deuce and no spectacular shots. At least we're getting the wins. Once you win, it's a great feeling with the crowd cheering you on."

The 47-year-old systems manager for Air Canada says his team was settling in Sunday after the adrenaline rush of Saturday, when the hosts downed Switzerland 8-4 and Denmark 9-5.

"I'll take 3-0 any day," Stoughton said.

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