“The make-or-break game on Friday became necessary after the two teams finished the round robin portion of the tournament tonight with identical 5-4 records,” said the Vancouver organizing committee of the Olympics and Paralympics.
The winner of Friday’s contest will play Canada in the semi-final match early Saturday.
Friday was scheduled to be a day off for the curlers, but Canadian skip Jim Armstrong welcomed the unexpected match.
“At least we have something to watch tomorrow,” he quipped.
Canada remained the team to beat, despite losing to Italy 8-7 in a match late Thursday.
Canada, though most members are new to the team, won gold in the 2006 Winter Games in Turin, the first year the sport was introduced to Paralympic competition.
In second place is the United States, which early Thursday beat Switzerland 8-2 to ensure a spot in Saturday’s semi-finals.
“The playoffs are anyone’s game,” said Augusto Perez of the United States. “We just play each game as it comes.”
The semi-final matches early Saturday will see the Americans play Korea, while Canada goes against the winning team of Friday’s Sweden vs. Italy match.
The teams that win those matches will the gold and silver medals late Saturday.
The Vancouver organizing committee announced late Thursday it would throw open the doors to Friday’s match for free, allowing fans in on a first-come, first-serve basis at no charge.
This is the second games for wheelchair curling and 10 countries participated including Canada, the US, Britain, Germany, Italy, Japan, Korea, Norway, Sweden and Switzerland.
“It’s been a roller-coaster,” said British team manager Tom Pendreigh earlier in the week.