Canada's Kevin Koe opens Olympic men's curling competition with two wins
Canada's skip Kevin Koe throws a rock during a men's curling match against Italy at the 2018 Winter Olympics in Gangneung, South Korea, Wednesday, Feb. 14, 2018. (AP Photo/Natacha Pisarenko)
The Canadian Press
Published Wednesday, February 14, 2018 9:27AM EST
Last Updated Wednesday, February 14, 2018 10:59AM EST
GANGNEUNG, Korea, Republic Of -- Canada's Kevin Koe opened the Olympic men's curling competition Tuesday with two straight wins.
The Calgary skip earned a 5-3 victory over Italy's Joel Retornaz in the first draw before capturing a 6-4 decision over Great Britain's Kyle Smith in the second.
Despite the solid start, neither of Koe's wins were dominant.
Canada needed two in the eighth end to take 4-2 lead over Italy, which pulled to within 4-3 with one in the ninth.
Koe cemented the win with one in the 10th.
"Lucky enough we put this team together and this was the far-out goal to get to the Olympics and do well here," Koe said. "I don't think we'll ever be the most consistent team out there, that just doesn't seem to be in the cards for us.
"It would be a little nicer but when we get to the big events we always do pretty well. The pressure is there, I don't think it's anything new. Obviously the Olympics is different for a couple of us and its magnified to a greater scale but we've all been fortunate enough to be team Canada a few times."
Canada opened its match against Great Britain impressively, storming out to a 5-1 lead through three ends.
Smith's rink countered with singles in the fifth and sixth ends before the Canadians scored one in the seventh.
Koe forced Smith to take one -- and relinquish last rock -- in the eighth before clinching the win when Smith's last shot in the final end rolled out of the rings, giving Canada one for the 6-4 decision.
"I thought we handled the ice good," he said. "Any time you don't lose it's a good day, so that was a good start.
"We played a couple of really good games today against a couple of solid teams."
Canada plays Norway on Thursday.