Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Stoeckli stranglehold

It was deathly quiet at times at the Curlingzentrum Region Basel CRB in Arlesheim.

When there wasn’t the sound of stone smashing, and yelling, of course.

Playing a three-day, best-of-seven series in a lonely ice rink is a tough chore. And it was gut-check day at the Swiss Olympic Trials.

Team Stefan Karnusian got things rolling with a 5-3 victory over Team Ralph Stoeckli, and the St. Moritz foursome were on the board with their first win.

Then, Karnusian scored two in the fifth end of match number four to take a 6-3 lead into the break.

But it all came crashing down in the second half of the match. Stoeckli worked a deuce to close the gap to 6-5, and then saw his last stone of the sixth curl just enough to make a double-takeout, and leave himself lying two.

Karnusian faced a draw to the four-foot for his one, and a solid 7-5 lead, but the rock slid heavy, and Stoeckli stole two for a shock 7-6 lead of this own.

In the eighth end, Stoeckli left his opponent with a tricky shot for two, facing one, but Karnusian wrecked on a guard... and then spun his stone into the rings onto his own second shot stone, to count one anyway!

After that excitment, the game calmed down and following some perfect tick-shot shooting by Stoeckli lead Simon Struebin, the Baden Regio skip got his single point in the 10th end for the 8-7 win.

Stoeckli now has a stranglehold on the Olympic berth, leading the series 3-1 with three chances to win tomorrow.

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