Sweden men win gold

Sweden, European Curling Championships 2014 Photo: WCF/Richard Gray

Sweden beat Norway by 5-4 in Saturday afternoon's men's gold medal game at the Le Gruyère European Curling Championships 2014 being held in the Palladium de Champéry in Champéry, Switzerland, a third European title for their skip Niklas Edin.

This game was the seventeenth encounter at a World Curling Federation Championship between these two skips and the result marked the first time in fourteen years that a men's team has gone through the entire European Championship undefeated.

The last men’s team to do it was a Finnish team skipped by Markku Uusipaavalniemi back in 2000. This year it was skip Niklas Edin and his team of third Oskar Eriksson, second player Kristian Lindstroem and lead Christoffer Sundgren - supported by alternate Henrik Leek and coach Ingemar Edstroem.

Sweden started the game with last stone and blanked the first three ends as they looked for an early advantage.

Eventually, they pushed themselves in front in the fourth end when they opened the scoring with a draw-shot by Edin for two points.

It was then Norway's turn to blank, in the fifth end, but a hit and stay by their skip Thomas Ulsrud opened their account in the sixth end, scoring one point to reduce the Swedish lead to 2-1.

Sweden scored one point in the seventh end for a 3-1 lead but Norway scored two points in the eighth end with another hit and stay to level the game at 3-3.

In the ninth end, Edin drew his last stone onto the button to score one point and re-take the lead, at 4-3.

In the tenth end, Ulsrud was forced to take one point with a tap-out on a Swedish stone, level the game at 4-4 and put the game into an extra end.

Sweden had the all-important last stone in this extra end and Edin eventually used it to deliver a nose-hit to score the one point needed to give his team a 5-4 win and the European Championship title.

After his win, Sweden's Edin said: "It's amazing. We've had a perfect week here - nine wins in the round-robin. We knew the Norwegians would give us a hard fight all the way - they always do, so we tried to never relax. We knew it was going to come down to the last rock."

He went on: "When we got the two in the fourth end, that was a big break. But then they got back on us. We tried not to play it risky and keep the hammer for the last end."

More generally, he said: "We knew we had it in us but we haven't had the best of seasons until this point and we got it all out this week, so it feels amazing and I'm really proud of my team. I thought a third European Championship would be like the others, but it feels better than them. I rank it with the Worlds we won in 2013."

For his part, Norway's World Champion, skip Thomas Ulsrud, was gracious in defeat, saying: "I think the best team won. They were the best team the whole week. We tried our best in the final but these guys had a great week. We played pretty well but they defended well. We had a small chance in the tenth end, we made a hit but we were two centimetres too long and we have to be that precise against Sweden. It doesn't feel that sore when you lose to a team that's played that well all week."

Ulsrud picked up his ninth European Curling Championship medal. His silver medal winning team included third Torger Nergaard, second Christoffer Svae and lead Haavard Vad Petersson. They were supported by alternate Sander Roelvaag and coach Peter Moe.

This was Sweden men’s eighth European Curling Championship title and the first time a Swedish men’s team has gone through the entire championship undefeated since current National Coach, Peja Lindholm, skipped his team to the title back in 1998.

The final game of the women’s World Challenge was also played this afternoon and it was Norway who won the series 2-1 as they defeated Estonia 8-7 to qualify for the World Women’s Curling Championship 2015.

The European Curling Championships 2015 will take place in Esbjerg, Denmark between 20 and 28 November.

RESULTS

Men’s Gold Medal Game: Sweden 5, Norway 4.

Women’s World Challenge Series: Norway 8, Estonia 7 (Norway win series 2-1).

FINAL STANDINGS (W-L)
Men:
1. Sweden* 11-0 (Gold)
2. Norway* 8-5 (Silver)
3. Switzerland* 7-4 (Bronze)
4. Italy* 7-5
5. Czech Republic* 5-5
6. Russia* 5-4
7. Scotland* 4-6
8. Germany 3-7 (Lost best of three games World Challenge series 2-0 against Finland*)
9. Denmark 1-8 (relegated to B Division)
10. Latvia 1-8 (relegated to B Division)

*Qualified for Ford World Men’s Curling Championship 2015

Women:
1. Switzerland** 8-3 (Gold)
2. Russia** 10-2 (Silver)
3. Scotland** 7-4 (Bronze)
4. Denmark** 7-5
5. Sweden** 5-4
6. Finland** 5-4
7. Germany** 4-5
8. Estonia 4-7 (Lost best of three games World Challenge series 2-1 to Norway**)
9. Latvia 1-8 (relegated to B Division)
10. Czech Republic 1-8 (relegated to B Division)

**Qualified for World Women’s Curling Championship 2015

All photos ©WCF/Richard Gray 2014

Medal Photos

A Division

Sweden, European Curling Champions 2014

Norway, Le Gruyere European Curling Championship 2014 silver medallists

Switzerland, Le Gruyere European Curling Championship bronze medallists 2014

B Division

Finland, Le Gruyere European Curling Championship B Division gold medallists 2014

Netherlands, Le Gruyere European Curling Championship B Division silver medallists 2014

England, Le Gruyere European Curling Championship B Division bronze medallists 2014

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