Canada qualifies for playoffs at Curling championship

Ottawa –

Minutes after dropping the third game at the World Men’s Curling Championship on Thursday night, Brad Gushew and his Canadian teammates are back on the ice at TD Place.

After an impromptu practice session, the conversation continued on the coach’s bench.

A 6-3 loss to Scotland’s Bruce Mouat sent Canada 7-3 into the playoffs, with one day remaining in a round robin. However, there is a lot of work to be done if the host team is battling it out over the weekend.

“We’re talking about it and trying to make some changes,” Gushue said.

The St. John’s, NL skip looked strong against the lower-ranked Wrights in a 13-team field, but his loss came to the team above him in the standings.

Yannick Schwarrer of Switzerland (10-1) was in first place ahead of Niklas Edin of Sweden (9-1) and Magnus Ramsfel of Scotland and Norway (both 8-2).

Canada and Sweden will face off in a rematch of last year’s final on Friday night. Edin won his 2022 title in Las Vegas.

Gushue, deputy Mark Nichols, second EJ Harnden and lead Geoff Walker looked strong in the morning’s draw with a comfortable 9-4 win over Germany’s Sixten Totzek.

The Canadian did little to replicate the effort in the evening in front of a roaring crowd at the 9,500-seat venue.

“(Tonight) we just made a lot of sloppy throws and didn’t put any real pressure on Bruce,” Guschu said. “

Both Canada and Scotland made mistakes early in their attempts to take root.

Mouat settled for a single when an open hit unfolded in the first end. Gushue saw him draw 2–1 in the second end, but a hit-and-roll attempt in the third didn’t curl enough, giving Scott a deuce.

“We were really bad,” Gushue said. “I threw a lot of bad rock tonight.”

Muat made another uncharacteristic mistake when he nosed a blank attempt in the sixth end. Gushue was unable to use the hammer and had to draw 1-4.

“If you throw it poorly and don’t give the rock a chance, you’ll get burned because the top teams will try to follow it up with a maid,” Gushue said.

In the ninth end, Mouat did a brilliant scrape and roll and sat two on the button. Canada had a chance to tie the game in the 10th inning, but the plan fell apart when Nichols fell short on a guard attempt.

Canada will face Turkey in curling minnows on Friday morning before their showdown with Edin.

Italy’s Joel Retornaz (6-4) and Japan’s Riku Yanagisawa (5-5) were the only teams to score in the sixth and final spot of the playoffs. A medal game is scheduled for Sunday.

Early on Thursday, Gushue started with a deuce and held Germany by two forces in the first half before taking a 4-2 lead into the break of the fifth end.

He tackled another pair in the sixth and scored a deuce in the ninth with a double takeout to cap off the win.

“I just really played the scoreboard,” Nichols said. “I think I got a lot of good shots.”

Gushue has settled for silver in his last two World Championship appearances. He won his Olympic gold medal at the Turin Games in 2006 and won his only world title in Edmonton in 2017.

Kelly Einarson skipped the Canadian team to win bronze at the Women’s Curling World Championships in Sandviken, Sweden, last month.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published on April 6, 2023.

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