Still undefeated, Team Gushue into final at men’s curling worlds
Running their record to a perfect 12-0, Team Canada defeated Sweden 7-4 on Friday night to move onto Sunday’s final at the World Men’s Curling Championship in Edmonton.
The 1-2 page playoff was expected to be a close match, with the two teams coming in as the top contenders for the gold medal.
Team Niklas Edin sits atop this year’s World Curling Tour money list with Gushue just behind in second. Gushue ran through the round robin undefeated while Edin lost only twice, including an 8-6 loss to Gushue early in the week. However, that was one of only two games in which Gushue was forced to play the full 10 ends.
Canada opened the game with the hammer, but Gushue was forced to draw to the button for a single after Edin made a great angle run. When Canada forced Edin to draw to the button for a single of his own in the second, the rock didn’t quite curl enough, giving Canada the steal of one. Team Gushue got another steal of one in the third when, after they split the rocks in the house, Edin attempted a hit but rolled his rock too far.
Sweden got on the board in the fourth, but that too was a single point after they tried for a double takeout but could only nudge the second stone. After a blanked fifth, Gushue gave up a steal of one in the sixth when he undercurled a lightweight tap. That was just the second steal they’d allowed in the tournament.
Finally in the seventh, the Canadians got a big end. After managing to get one of his stones to just hang onto the edge of the rings, Gushue forced Edin to make a tough freeze. But the Swedish skip came up short, allowing Gushue to make the hit for three and a 6-2 lead.
Sweden cut the lead to 6-4 in the eighth on a draw to the eight foot, but Gushue added one more in the ninth to take a three point lead into the final end where they ran the Swedes out of stones.
Guaranteed a podium finish, Team Gushue will be qualified for the national curling trials in December where the Olympic teams for PyeongChang 2018 will be decided. Gushue and Nichols already have that Olympic experience, winning gold at Turin 2006. Gushue is looking to become the first skip to ever own world, world junior, and Olympic gold.