Canada’s Brad Gushue settled for silver at the world men’s curling championship on Sunday after dropping an 8-6 decision to Sweden’s Niklas Edin at the Orleans Arena in Las Vegas.
Gushue nosed a blank attempt in the ninth end to give Edin the hammer in the 10th with the game tied. Sweden scored a pair when Gushue couldn’t get his stone to roll underneath two Swedish rocks on the top of the four-foot ring.
It was the fourth straight world crown for Edin and his sixth overall. The victory came less than two months after he won Olympic gold – beating Gushue in the semifinal – at the Beijing Games.
Gushue and his St. John’s-based team of Mark Nichols, Brett Gallant and Geoff Walker had the first seed and opened the game with hammer.
But Edin worked a force in the opening end and kept the pressure on all game, taking advantage of Canadian mistakes. Gushue tried for a blank in the ninth end but nosed it for a single and Walker hogged his second stone in the 10th.
Italy’s Joel Retornaz defeated American Korey Dropkin 13-4 earlier in the day to win the bronze medal.
Gushue, who won Olympic bronze in Beijing, was looking to win his second career world title after topping Edin in the 2017 final at Edmonton. Edin won the rematch a year later at this same Las Vegas venue.
Without Scotland’s Bruce Mouat in the field, Canada and Sweden were heavy favourites to make it to the final.
Gushue and Edin had a few hiccups during round-robin play but were still the class of the 13-team field and secured the top two seeds.
The teams know each other well since the skips first played each other in 2011. Gushue entered with a 21-10 edge in all-time meetings but Edin had won the last three games, including once here and twice in Beijing.
With a pro-Canadian crowd of about 1,000 fans providing support, Gushue stole a pair in the second. Edin flashed an in-off and couldn’t move the buried Canadian rocks on his final shot.
An apparent ice issue — the latest in a series of problems that hampered play all week — appeared to impact Gushue’s first throw in the third end.
He raised his arms in the air as his stone passed the far hogline before missing its target. That allowed Edin to make a hit and stay for two.
Gushue glanced over the spot on the ice and checked the bottom of the stone for debris. He was still shaking his head as he discussed the problem with alternate E.J. Harnden and national coach Jeff Stoughton between ends.
Gushue, ranked No. 1 in the world, has enjoyed a remarkable season with victories at Canada’s Olympic trials, a bronze medal at the Olympics and a fourth national title in six years. Gushue, Gallant and Walker played the final weekend at the Tim Hortons Brier as a threesome when Nichols withdrew due to COVID-19.
Edin, who beat Mouat in the Olympic final, pulled even with a steal in the fourth end. Sweden sat three in the fifth end to force Gushue to draw for a single and 4-3 lead entering the mid-game break.
Edin picked up another deuce in the sixth when Gushue could only clear one stone on a double-takeout attempt.
Retornaz, meanwhile, guided the Italian team to its first-ever playoff appearance at this event and first podium. A six-point seventh end sealed the victory over the host side.
The world bronze came two months after Italian third Amos Mosaner won Olympic mixed doubles gold with Stefania Constantini.
This will be the final season for this version of the Team Gushue lineup.
Gallant plans to leave the team once the campaign wraps up later this spring. His replacement has yet to be named.
Canada’s Kerri Einarson won bronze at the world women’s championship last month in Prince George, B.C. Switzerland’s Silvana Tirinzoni won the gold.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published April 10, 2022.
THE CANADIAN PRESS