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THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick

Team Canada advances to gold medal game at Curling Worlds

Team Canada will play for gold at the World Men’s Curling Championship after a pair of wins against defending champion Sweden, and the No. 1 seeded Switzerland on Saturday night in Ottawa.

The team of skipper Brad Gushue, vice/third Mark Nichols, second E.J. Harnden, and lead Geoff Walker had their work cut out for them after drawing the four-time defending champions in the qualification round. Avenging their championship match loss from 2022, Canada took down Sweden in convincing fashion, 9-1.

The semifinal game against Switzerland, the No. 1 seed that went 11-1 in the qualification round including a 8-3 win against Canada to open the tournament, was a thriller that entertained a packed house at TD Place in the nation’s capital.

In a match that featured 5 lead changes, Canada and Switzerland were deadlocked after Switzerland scored two in the eighth end to make it 5-5.

It took till the 10th end for Brad Gushue and company to break through, grabbing two points and propelling Canada to their second straight worlds final.

They will go up against Scotland, who won their semifinal 9-8 in extra ends, tomorrow at 4 p.m. EST in Ottawa. Scotland defeated Canada 6-3 in the round robin.

Canada clinches playoff berth at curling worlds

Team Canada took down Sweden 8-5 at the World Men’s Curling Championship in Ottawa on Friday.

The win solidified a rematch of the two teams in the qualification round – Canada finished with a 9-3 record despite losing two of their first four games, while Sweden finished with an identical record of 9-3.

Team Canada will be looking to avenge last year’s loss to Sweden in the championship game, where a Niklas Edin-led team took down Gushue and company by an 8-6 final.

In fact, these teams are used to facing off in the gold medal match rather than the qualification. Sweden has won four straight world men’s championships, and three of those have come with gold medal wins versus Canada. In fact, the last seven winners of the Worlds have been either Canada or Sweden.

On the other side of the bracket, Norway and Italy will square off in the qualification round, while first-place Switzerland, and Scotland will await the winners in the the semi-final.

Canada overcomes slow start at curling worlds

Team Canada got off to a bit of a slow start, dropping their opening game last Saturday 8-3 against Switzerland. They bounced back with a 10-6 win over Italy and followed up with an 8-2 win over New Zealand before ending up on the wrong side of an 8-6 game against Norway.

But from that 2-2 record, they went on a bit of a roll, reeling off five straight victories against Japan (6-3), Czech Republic (8-3), South Korea (9-4), the United States (9-6), and Germany (9-4). Their streak came to a stop Thursday night against Scotland. The Olympic silver medallists, skipped by Bruce Moat, defeated Canada 6-3.

After winning bronze at Beijing 2022, Gushue skipped his team to silver at last year’s worlds, losing the final to Edin and Sweden. That was a repeat of what happened in the 2018 final. The year before, in 2017, it had been Gushue who came away with the world title, defeating Edin in the final. That was the last time any Canadian team won gold at the worlds.