Stoughton starts 2-0

Canada's skip Jeff Stoughton keeps his eye on the line of his shot during play against Switzerland...

Canada's skip Jeff Stoughton keeps his eye on the line of his shot during play against Switzerland in the World Men's Curling Championships in Regina Saskatchewan April 2, 2011. (REUTERS/Andy Clark)

KIRK PENTON, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 12:39 AM ET

REGINA — The crowd hadn’t done much cheering for Jeff Stoughton’s team through eight ends on Saturday afternoon.

It wasn’t because he’s from Winnipeg, though. Team Canada simply wasn’t doing much to warrant many cheers.

That all changed in the ninth when Stoughton showed why he’s one of the best curlers in the world, executing a precise raise double takeout with his first rock that got a huge roar from the 5,595 spectators at Brandt Centre.

It also led to a steal of two when the final stone for Switzerland’s Christof Schwaller picked something up and veered off course, giving Canada an 8-4 win in the opening draw of the world men’s curling championship.

Stoughton followed that up with another less-than-convincing victory in the nightcap, an 9-5 triumph over Denmark’s Tommy Stjerne in front of another packed house. France’s Thomas Dufour is also 2-0.

“Good day, 2-0. That’s perfect,” Stoughton said. “That’s what we wanted. That’s all we can ask for. It doesn’t matter how we get ’em. We’re taking ’em.”

Stoughton’s struggles against Denmark looked worse than they actually were, as Canada out-curled the Danes 84% to 60%. Stoughton gave up a steal of three in the third end, when his draw hung out too far, to go down 4-2. But they bounced back and stole four in the sixth to take a 7-4 lead, and never looked back.

Canada, which is heavily favoured to win the event, meets Germany (0-1) on Sunday afternoon.

“Obviously we want to be sharper, but you don’t need to play your best (this) Sunday,” Stoughton said. “We need to play our best next Sunday.”

The game against the Swiss, which featured three measurements, was 2-2 through four ends, but Canada caught a big break when Schwaller came up light on a draw in the fifth. That gave Stoughton a steal of three and a 5-2 advantage.

Schwaller made it a 5-4 game with a steal of one in the seventh, but Stoughton notched one in the eighth and then stole his deuce in the ninth to finish it off.

Even though it’s his third appearance in the world championship, Stoughton admitted the butterflies were there.

“We might have been a little nervous,” he said. “I certainly was excited at the start. Just a great crowd. It’s quite a thrill. I don’t think my heart got down under 100 until about the fourth end — and that’s because I had to run in and out to go to the bathroom a lot,” he joked.

Worlds rookie Reid Carruthers shot 85% against the Swiss, which tied for the best mark among the eight seconds who played in the first draw. It wasn’t a bad mark considering how much adrenaline was pumping through his veins when he came onto the ice before the contest.

“I don’t think there’s words to describe it,” Carruthers said. “The feeling, it’s like a rush. It’s almost like coming over Space Mountain as you’re coming down that final dip, like that exhilarating feel. It’s unbelievable.”

kirk.penton@sunmedia.ca

Twitter: @PentonKirk


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