NORTH BAY, Ont. — Team Korey Dropkin of the United States made quick work of Canada’s Team Reid Carruthers in the Boost National.
Dropkin scored a 7-0 shutout in only five ends during Thursday morning’s round-robin action at Memorial Gardens.
The first end was the only time Dropkin held the hammer and the two-point conversion on the opening drive was good. From there, Dropkin’s best offence was a good defence with interceptions. His team stole one in the second, three in the third and another point in the fifth that led to the early handshakes.
The hot start to the day could be credited to the fact that Dropkin drinks his coffee black or, more likely, to solid teamwork.
“We had a good game, kinda came out firing,” Dropkin said. “All four guys really stepped up this morning and played really well, really solid. We had some good energy, which has been important for us. One of the things we’ve been focusing on is our activation levels out there. We made some great shots, so we’re pretty happy coming out with the win.”
Team Dropkin improved to a 2-1 record with one preliminary game remaining Friday against Bruce Mouat’s Scottish side. Dropkin lost his tournament opener 7-3 to Switzerland’s Team Michael Brunner and regrouped to score a 5-3 victory over Scotland’s Team Ross Whyte.
“We feel like we kinda handed one out there early in the event and we’re sort of grinding back to try and make the playoffs here,” Dropkin said. “We’ve got a big game coming up tomorrow. We feel good right now, we’ll just get a bit of rest today and come out firing tomorrow.”
The Young Bucks got even younger this season after third Joe Polo stepped back from the sport. Andrew Stopera, 25, entered the picture to play third alongside Dropkin, second Mark Fenner and lead Thomas Howell. Dropkin has also welcomed Ben Richardson, 23, this week to sub for Howell.
“Losing JP, Joe brought a lot to the team, but I think picking up Andrew Stopera, he’s just such a great curler,” Dropkin said. “He’s got a great mind for the game. He’s brought a lot to this team too. He’s a very confident individual, so he’s been great to have out there at the third position and in the house with me.
“At this event, we’ve got Ben Richardson also filling in for Tommy Howell. He’s a nice, great, young stud at the game and a workhorse out there. It’s been great having him and also getting him some experience at this level.”
Elsewhere in the draw, Canada’s Team Matt Dunstone also climbed to a 2-1 record with a 7-3 victory over Team Mouat (1-2).
Sweden’s Team Niklas Edin (3-0) are leading the way by becoming the first to three wins. The reigning Olympic and world champions edged Team Whyte 6-5 in an extra end. Whyte holds the opposite record at 0-3.
Team Yannick Schwaller (1-2) picked up a 6-2 win over Team Michael Brunner (2-1) in a Swiss derby.
Round-robin play runs through to Friday as teams play four games against teams outside of their pool. The top eight overall, regardless of pools, advance to Saturday afternoon’s quarterfinals. The semifinals are set for Saturday evening and both finals are on tap for Sunday.
The Boost National is the first of six events on the 2022-23 Pinty’s Grand Slam of Curling calendar and features 16 of the top men’s teams and 16 of the top women’s teams from around the world. … A combined $300,000 purse, split equally between the men’s and women’s divisions, is on the line. The winning teams receive $35,000 and invitations to the season-ending Kioti Tractor Champions Cup. … Points are also up for grabs in the race for the Pinty’s Cup, which is awarded to the 2022-23 season champions with a $75,000 bonus for the winning teams.