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So when he made a second straight runback in the seventh end of Saturday night’s semifinal to score three points for Canada, he turned to the crowd and pumped his fists in the air.
It was an emotional outburst many curling ends in the making. And it was the shot that propelled Canada to a thrilling win over Scotland at the men’s world curling championship in Las Vegas.
“We have a saying within our team. It’s playing in the green, yellow and red. The guys like to play in the green. I like to play in the red. I was pretty red out there tonight,” Gushue said. “I don’t go there very often but I tend to get hyper-focused when I do.”
For a second, it looked as though Scotland might get all the breaks in the game. With Canada looking to score a big end in the fifth, Scottish skip Bruce Mouat ticked off a guard and rolled perfectly frozen on a Canadian stone. Gushue was forced to a single and tied the game 5-5 at the midway point.
“We faced some adversity on with some bad breaks that went against us. I got a little heated but was able to compose myself,” Gushue said. “The fifth-end break was perfect timing because it gave me a second to compose myself.”
The team never stopped grinding in the game and after it third Mark Nichols couldn’t say enough good things about the way his team battled.
“It would mean more to win this thing this year. We’ve struggled at times but kept going,” Nichols said. “We knew when we got to the playoffs we could hit an extra gear and we have.”
Olympic silver medallists Sweden faced Korea in Saturday (7 April) afternoon’s first semi-final of the 361° World Men’s Curling Championship in Las Vegas, United States, and in a game that went all the way to an extra end, Sweden emerged as 9-8 winners to go on to Sunday’s gold medal game.
In the fourth end of the game, Korea held a 2-1 lead when Sweden’s skip Niklas Edin drew his final stone of the end into position to score three points after an umpire’s measure and take a 4-2 lead. In the fifth end, Korea responded when their skip ChangMin Kim played a raise double take-out to score two points and level the score at 4-4.
Sweden were 4-6 down in the seventh end, but Edin then made amends, playing a hit-out of a Korean stone to score two points and level the score again, at 6-6.
In the eighth end, with three Swedish counters already in the house, skip Kim hit out one of them to score one point and take the lead, at 7-6.
In the ninth end, Edin drew his last stone into the house to score two points and give Sweden the lead again, at 8-7, the fifth time the lead had changed hands in this game. After this, Kim’s Korean team-mates swept his final draw of the tenth end into the house to score one point, tie the game at 8-8, and force an extra end.
In that extra end, another draw by Edin gave Sweden the one point they needed for their 9-8 win. Sweden now face the winner of the other semi-final – either Canada or Scotland – for gold, while Korea will play the loser for bronze.
They said it
Niklas Edin; skip, Sweden (after 9-8 extra end semi-final win over Korea): “That was a tough one. We’ve been playing close to perfect curling for a week and a half and then having to come out there and literally having no idea what to throw. It was tough, we had to fight both ourselves and the ice to try to stay in that game and not get too frustrated. It was tough for both teams and they made us play some tough shots. In the end we were really happy to come home with the hammer. I’ve seen this team before this year. Their skip is a good thrower and a good tactician.”
ChangMin Kim; skip, Korea (after 8-9 extra end semi-final loss to Sweden): “The ice was really frosty, so it was hard today. We have worked really really hard to be here. We didn’t enjoy this game – there was so much pressure because this is the semi-final.”