Tyler Tardi successfully completed the defence of his world title when he led his Canadian team to a 9-4 win over Switzerland in Saturday morning’s men’s gold medal game at the World Junior Curling Championships 2019 in Liverpool, N.S.
At the same time Scotland took bronze medals, beating Norway by 8-5.
In the gold medal game, the Canadians’ skip, Tardi, third Sterling Middleton, second Matthew Hall, and lead Alex Horvath – supported by alternate Rylan Kleiter and coach Paul Tardi – blanked the first end and then opened the scoring with two points in the second end.
Switzerland could only score a single point in the third end, then Canada moved further ahead in the fourth when Tardi had an open hit for a score of three points and a 5-1 lead.
In the fifth end, a draw by Swiss skip Marco Hoesli was too heavy and this handed Canada a steal of two more points for a 7-1 lead at the break.
Switzerland’s skip Marco Hoesli and team took a single point from the sixth end, then in the seventh end.
Canada’s Tardi hit out two Swiss stones to add another two points to his tally, for a 9-2 lead.
In the eighth end, Switzerland drew their last stone into the house for two points, they then shook hands to concede the game and the title, at 9-4.
“We had a good game last night and a good de-brief, hopefully to bring the good stuff out today,” Tardi said.
“My teammates were unreal in this game, they made my job easy. It’s fun to be out there when you only have to throw nose-hits, so a huge thank you to my team for making my job easy.”
With this win, Tardi and his team become the first nation to achieve back-to-back junior men’s titles since 2007, and about that he said, “It’s unbelievable… I don’t know a single word to describe how I’m feeling. It’s unbelievable to do it once but to do it twice is just incredible, especially doing it here in Canada.”
The team is made up of Tardi (a Cloverdale skip who plays out of the Langley Curling Centre), Middleton (the third who hails from Fort. St. John, lives in New Westminster, and curls out of Langley), Matthew Hall (second, who lives in Cloverdale but also plays out of the Langley rink), and Alex Horvath (the lead who plays out of Victoria). Saskatchewan’s Rylan Kleiter joined the team for the world competition, as a fifth, and rounding out the team is their coach – Tyler’s father – Paul, as well as Melissa Soligo retunring as the team leader.
Reflecting on their silver medals, Swiss skip Marco Hoesli said, “we tried our best there. Our goal was to get into the play-offs, which we’ve achieved. We even made it into the final so we’re really happy with our performance and winning the silver.”
Norway opened the bronze medal game with a steal of one point, but the early breakthrough was in Scotland’s favour when Norway’s skip Magnus Ramsfjell’s last stone of the third end was too light, wrecking on a guard and giving Scotland a steal of three points for a 4-1 lead.
The teams then swapped scores of two points to give Scotland a 6-3 lead at the break.
In the seventh end, Scotland skip Ross Whyte played a tap-back for one point to add to his team’s lead, then Ramsfjell caught another front guard in the eighth end to give Scotland a steal of one point for an 8-4 lead.
Norway drew their last stone of the ninth end to score one more point, then conceded midway through the tenth end, with the final score at 8-5 to Scotland.
With this win, the Scots – skip Whyte, third Duncan McFadzean, second James Craik and lead Euan Kyle, supported by alternate Ryan McCormack and coach Greg Drummond – took bronze medals.
After the game, Scotland skip Whyte said, “that wasn’t quite the result we wanted this week, but we came back after a struggle last night and we showed what we’re all about. It was very difficult last night, but we’re a good team, a good formation.”
Still reflecting on his team’s semi-final loss to Switzerland – their only defeat of the week – he added, “you’ve got to turn up for the play-offs and we didn’t do that last night, but we’ve had a good week.”
Fans are going online congratulating the local players.