Play the bagpipes!
Scotland rolls over Canada to win world men’s title
It’s fair to say members of Team Scotland were party-poopers at the 2023 BKT Tires & OK Tire World Men’s Curling Championship in Ottawa this week.
The Scots finally burst the balloon of skip Brad Gushue’s Team Canada on an emotionally charged final night with a convincing eight-end 9-3 win in the gold-medal final Sunday before a jacked-up crowd at TD Place.
It was the first win at the world championship for curlers from Scotland since David Murdoch won in 2009, and skip Bruce Mouat and his talented young team were over the moon with the gold medal.
Mouat can put the gold next to the silver he won in 2021 and the bronze from 2018.
“We knew we needed to bring our A-plus game, and that’s exactly what we did. We shot the lights out,” said Mouat, who was backed in Ottawa by vice-skip Grant Hardie, second Bobby Lammie, lead Hammy McMillan, alternate Kyle Waddell and coach Michael Goodfellow.
“I didn’t expect the final to go that way but so proud of my team. I’ve created three really good friends over the past five years. The guys have worked so hard and encouraged me to do my best. We are starting to reap the benefits.”
The loss was like a gut-punch to the Canadians who had worked so hard to get their game together after a slow 2-2 start in the round-robin, and looked like a runaway train heading into the final.
Team Canada defeated Team Sweden’s defending champions skipped by Niklas Edin in the final round-robin game, dispatched them in the qualification playoff game, and followed that up with a big win over skip Yannick Schwaller’s Team Switzerland in the semifinals. The Swiss had finished on top of the round-robin standings with an 11-1 record.
“We’re disappointed we didn’t put on a show for the incredible people of Ottawa,” said Gushue, who was looking for his second world title after winning in 2017 with a slightly different lineup. Gushue went undefeated to win in Edmonton with Brett Gallant throwing second stones. His backing in Ottawa included third Mark Nichols, second E.J. Harnden, lead Geoff Walker, alternate Ryan Harnden, team coach Caleb Flaxey and national coach Jeff Stoughton.
The Canadians, buoyed by their raucous fans all week, had supporters in full throat in the final, but all the cheering and chants from the pro-Canada crowd could not drag the Canadians over the finish line.
Slice open the game and examine the parts, and the true nature of Canada’s loss is revealed.
Team Scotland executed better, and Mouat shot an incredible 97 per cent. The Canadians seemed to be on the wrong side of everything, and Gushue wasn’t sharp.
The Scots jumped into a 2-0 lead after Mouat make a run double with his last rock in the second end, and in the very next end Gushue sailed deep with his last rock facing two.
Down 4-zip, the Canadians were looking at a steep, uphill climb.
The Canadians were forced to take one in the fourth, but in the fifth end Gushue rolled out of the rings on a hit and Mouat drew for another deuce.
The final was cruel and unusual punishment for Gushue who had played so well down the stretch for Canada.
“Obviously the missed draw in the third was the difference,” said Gushue. “It took the incredible fans out the the game, so sorry about that. When you’re down 4-0 to a team of Bruce’s calibre, your odds are not good. Even if we played our best, it may not have been good enough.”
Both skips tipped their hats to the fans.
“I want to thank our family for coming, our supporters, the whole city of Ottawa,” said Gushue.
“It’s been an absolute honour to win in this building in front of all these fans,” said Mouat. “I’m going to remember this for the rest of my life. It gives me goosebumps just thinking about it.”
Skip Anton Hood of Team New Zealand won the Colin Campbell Sportsmanship Award.
Live scoring, standings and statistics for the 2023 BKT Tires & OK Tire World Men’s Curling Championship are available by CLICKING HERE.
This story will be available in French as soon as possible at www.curling.ca/2023worldmen/nouvelles/?lang=fr