Sochi, Russia • Canada and Britain will play for Olympic gold in men’s curling.
The Canadians beat China 10-6 in the semifinals on Wednesday, while Britain defeated Sweden 6-5, sealing victory with a two-point last rock.
With the win, the British are assured of winning their first medal in men’s curling since the sport returned to the Olympic program in 1998.
China finally fulfilled its rich potential by reaching the playoffs but was put in its place by Brad Jacobs’ rink, which is looking to secure curling-mad Canada’s third straight gold.
"To keep Canada at the forefront of curling and keep us in the medals really means the world," Canada curler Ryan Fry said. "It’s unbelievable to play with the Maple Leaf on your back but it also comes with a lot of pressure."
Tied at 4-4 after six ends, a tight game was split open by a mistake by China skip Liu Rui in the seventh that let in Jacobs for three points. Another three points for Canada in the ninth meant there was no way back for China.
After the Chinese conceded midway through the 10th end, Canada’s players bumped fists and Jacob said: "One more, guys. Right till the end."
"We have played a ton of big games together in the last two years," Jacobs said, "and I really think our experience in those big, nerve-wracking important games helped us out today."
The final will be played Friday. It will be preceded by Sweden vs. China in the bronze-medal game.
Britain skip David Murdoch wore the broadest smile in the Ice Cube Curling Center after ending years of woe on the Olympic stage by reaching the final and guaranteeing a medal. He lost the bronze-medal game against the United States in 2006 and a tiebreaker for the semifinals in 2010 when Britain was the world champion.
"It’s by far the best thing that’s happened to me in my career," Murdoch said. "We’ve had such close Olympic campaigns over the years, and it’s never quite happened. We’ve always been that millimeter the other side of the millimeter. Now we are on the right side."
Just like against Norway in Tuesday’s tiebreaker, Murdoch clinched victory by scoring two points with the last shot of the game, his stone curling through a small gap for a hack-weight takeout.
He charged down the ice, repeatedly pumping his right fist, and saluted the British fans.
"Dave’s a good buddy of mine," Fry said, "he’s been a phenomenal curler for a long time and he deserves this."
Sweden skip Niklas Edin will regret the key moment in the sixth end when he allowed Britain to steal a point by failing to bump a British stone out of the house. If he’d succeeded, Sweden would have picked up three points and made it 5-2.
Edin also made a mistake with the next-to-last shot of the game when he missed a takeout, presenting Murdoch with the opportunity for the game-deciding two.
Britain now is guaranteed to capture three medals at a Winter Olympics for the first time since 1936.
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