OAKVILLE, Ont. — Team Joël Retornaz made history at the WFG Masters by becoming the first Italian club to capture a Pinty’s Grand Slam of Curling title.
The Trentino-based squad upended Team Bruce Mouat 6-2 during the men’s final Sunday at Sixteen Mile Sports Complex.
Retornaz, third Amos Mosaner, second Sebastian Arman and lead Mattia Giovanella earned $35,000 from the $300,000 combined purse plus 12 Pinty’s Cup points and a berth to the season-ending KIOTI Tractor Champions Cup in May.
“It means a lot, first of all, to ourselves but also for our country,” Retornaz said. “We were not a huge curling country but we’re showing that with passion and dedication you can get to the top. Today we are at the top, so we couldn’t be more proud.”
Mouat, who is a five-time Grand Slam winner and was the event’s defending champion, is supported by third Grant Hardie, second Bobby Lammie and lead Hammy McMillan Jr. The Scottish club collected $20,000 and nine Pinty’s Cup points.
After Mouat sat five counters in the first and forced Retornaz to hit a double takeout for just a single, steals became the name of the championship game.
Retornaz swiped single points in three consecutive ends to grab a 4-0 advantage heading into the fourth-end break.
Mouat, who shot a game-low 70 per cent, bounced back big time in the fifth end pulling off a crazy angle raise double to score a deuce and cut the deficit in half.
That was all the offence Mouat could generate, however. Retornaz, who shot 86 per cent, remained sharp to score a single in the sixth and required Mouat to attempt another tricky raise in the seventh. Mouat couldn’t pull it off and conceded the match.
“It’s not easy because they’re playing very offensive and once they get down on the scoreboard they have nothing to lose, so they keep putting stones and keep putting pressure on us,” Retornaz said. “But we didn’t think about who we were playing and the situation we had on the ice. We just kept thinking about our own rocks and tried to put them in the best spots possible. We did and we managed to steal a few ends and of course, that was the key of the game.”
Earlier, Team Kerri Einarson of Gimli, Man., edged Ottawa’s Team Rachel Homan 6-5 in an extra end to win the WFG Masters women’s championship.
The Pinty’s Grand Slam of Curling returns in the new year with the Co-op Canadian Open, Jan. 10-15, 2023, at Encana Arena in Camrose, Alta.