Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Italians make Koe work for worlds win

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CORTINA D'AMPEZZO, Italy -- Kevin Koe finally went the distance at the Capital One World Men's Curling Championship.

The Edmonton skip opened play Monday with a 7-5 win over Italy's Joel Retornaz, the first time in the tournament the Canadians have played a full 10 ends.

"I think it's good," Koe said. "You don't want to run through this whole week and then get near the end and all of a sudden be tested, when you haven't been tested all week."

Koe, making his debut at the world championship, also defeated Sweden's Per Carlsen 8-4 in eight ends to improve his record to 5-0, putting him in a tie for first with Scotland's Warwick Smith.

Canada and Scotland will square off in today's morning draw.

"I haven't even seen much of their play; we've kind of been on opposite draws," Koe said of Smith. "But they look like they're playing pretty good, so it'll be a good test."

Norway is second at 4-1 after scoring a pair of wins Monday. Denmark and Germany each split their two games to finish the day tied for third at 3-2.

Canada scored a single in the first end, but Italy (2-3) took the lead with two in the third. Koe had a chance for a deuce in the fourth, but scored only one when his final draw was heavy through the house.

A steal of two gave the Canadians a 4-2 lead in the fifth. After Koe added another two in the seventh, Italy closed to within one in the ninth. But Koe produced a nose-hit for one in the 10th to secure the win.

"That was our first time playing them and they throw pretty good," Koe said of the Italians. "We made a few more shots today than we did yesterday.

"The sheet of ice was pretty good; it's just that our draw weight wasn't perfect today, but it's not a big worry."

Retornaz said the fifth-end steal by Canada was the turning point.

"We played well in the second half, but against Canada it's difficult to come back into the game," he said. "They don't give you many chances."

Later, Canada returned to dominant form against Sweden.

Sweden (1-4) had the hammer in the first end and used it to score one. But then Canada took over, scoring two in the second, stealing one in the third and taking four in the fifth.

"That was kind of a sneaky four," Koe said. "We were in trouble and then he missed his first one a bit and all of a sudden we made a couple of good shots for the four, so that was obviously a big end."

Koe is optimistic heading into the match with Scotland.

"We snuck one over them last year, but obviously they're a really good team and they're playing well," Koe said. "So we're really looking forward to it."

While Canada beat Sweden, the Scots defeated Denmark 7-4 to keep their perfect record intact.

 

-- The Canadian Press

 

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition April 6, 2010 B11

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