Brad Gushue and his Newfoundland crew will have to take a slightly longer route to defend their world men’s curling title.
They’ll be playing in one of Saturday morning’s quarterfinal games after failing to finish as one of the top two teams in the round robin in Las Vegas.
Team Gushue had a chance to earn a bye directly to the semifinals, which will be held later on Saturday, but a tight 6-5 loss to Sweden, skipped by two-time world champion Niklas Edin, ended that hope.
With one more round robin game on Team Canada’s schedule, they have an 8-3 record, currently ranking them third behind Scotland and Sweden, both with 10-1 records. They’ll close it out with a match against 1-10 Germany on Friday night.
Gushue’s rink, which also includes third Mark Nichols, second Brett Gallant, lead Geoff Walker, and alternate Tom Sallows, had opened the world championship last Saturday with a 7-6 win in 9 ends over Russia. That night, however, they dropped an 8-7 decision to Scotland. They went on to win seven straight after that.
There was an easy 7-2 win in 6 ends against Switzerland on Sunday followed by an 8-7 victory over Italy on Monday. They played twice on Tuesday, starting with a 7-6 victory against South Korea before a 9-2 thumping of Japan in 6 ends. In two games on Wednesday they defeated Norway 8-2 in 7 ends and the Netherlands 8-5 in 9 ends. They recorded a 7-4 victory in 9 ends over China on Thursday afternoon before the win streak ended with a 6-5 loss to the United States that night.
With two more draws to be played on Friday, Canada’s quarterfinal opponent is still to be determined. Norway, currently 7-4, has also locked up a spot in the playoffs. In the hunt are Switzerland (6-5), South Korea (5-5), Russia (5-5).
Team Gushue had gone undefeated to win last year’s worlds in Edmonton. That included a victory over Edin in the final. The Swedes won silver at PyeongChang 2018.
The bronze medal game will be Sunday afternoon at 3:00 p.m. ET with the gold medal game at 8:00 p.m. ET that night. TSN will have live coverage of all of the weekend matches.