No. 1 Canada exempted from World Curling Championship semi-finals

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The Gushue team is certainly happy to see you.

With its victory early Friday at the 2022 LGT World Men’s Curling Championship in Las Vegas, Canada skips Saturday’s qualifying round and advances directly to the semifinals later in the day (10 p.m. ET, TSN).

It’s a welcome goodbye, of course.

That means one less game in what has been a fantastic — but hectic — schedule for the St. John’s Curling Club in Newfoundland.

“There have been times this week where I feel like a zombie, and you’re focused and trying to do your best, but it’s been a long year and a chore,” said Canadian captain Brad Gushue. “And this week the draw hasn’t been our friend either with the night and the morning (matches) – it just makes the days longer.

“But it’s the world championship… If you can’t find the energy, there’s something wrong.”

Tired or not, Team Canada pulled out all the stops to finish top of the standings in the 13-country event.

Friday morning’s 8-6 win over Scotland’s Kyle Waddell (7-5) followed by a 9-2 loss to Denmark’s Tobias Thune (2-10) closed the round robin for Canada at 10 -2. That means a hammer for the semi-final and – if he makes it – the final.

“(It’s) definitely a bonus, but as important as that, you need some rest,” Gushue said. “We all feel it. I think the energy was a bit low, and it has been for the most part this week. Any chance we may have to rest will benefit our team.

This rest was guaranteed by staying ahead of Scotland for most of the game. After stealing the first end and seeing the Scots earn a deuce in the second, Gushue, third Mark Nichols, second Brett Gallant and lead Geoff Walker dominated the rest of the way. They got two of their own in the third end, then another steal in the fourth. That kept them ahead until fourth Scotsman Ross Paterson made a superstar shot – one out and a double-relay for two – with the hammer in the ninth end.

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It tied the game and Scotland put pressure on the Canadians in the final end until Gushue fired a superb shot – a perfectly executed double takedown to turn the game in their favour. Paterson then flashed his rock between two Canada rocks in the house, and it was handshake time.

The hard-to-read glass was again a problem in the draw.

“We had a few flat spots, and it kind of screwed up,” Gushue added. “If we had to shoot all four feet in the last moto, it would have been a bit of a guess, and you don’t really want that.

“So luckily we played a really good 10th inning and didn’t have to pitch the last one.”

In the nightcap, Canada took care of business quickly with a two to start in two and three more in third. The Danes got one in each of the second and fourth ends to score their only points of the tie. Canada then scored twice in each of the fifth and sixth ends, after which the game was called off.

ADDITIONAL PURPOSE

Italy’s Joel Retornaz (8-4) and America’s Korey Dropkin (7-5) qualified early Friday after picking up a seventh victory. They faced off in the late draw, with Italy winning 8-4. Scotland then secured a place in the playoffs with an evening victory against Switzerland’s Yannick Schwaller (6-6) 8-7. But Switzerland snatched the last playoff spot on the last rock of the night, when Dutchman Wouter Goesgens (3-9) stunned Korean Kim Soo-Hyuk (6-6) in a streak affair extra 8-7 to give the Swiss who coveted the final spot for the weekend… Qualifying matches are scheduled for Saturday (5 p.m. ET, TSN) when No. 3 Italy take on No. 6 Switzerland , and Scotland, No. 4, against the United States, No. 5… In the afternoon, it was: Korea against the Germans of Sixten Totzen (6-6) 9-4; Finland’s Kalle Kiiskinen (4-8) beating the Netherlands 9-8 in an extra end; Czech Lukas Klima (5-7) beats Denmark 9-2; and Sweden’s Niklas Edin (9-3) — who joins Canada in a semi-final bye — beating Norway’s Magnus Ramsfjell (5-7) 7-6… Other morning results were: Italy 9, Norway 6 in an extra end; Germany v Switzerland 10-3; and the United States defeating Finland 7-2.

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