It’s a win!

Team Canada during the opening draw at the 2024 LGT World Men’s Curling Championship. From left, Geoff Walker, E.J. Harnden and Mark Nichols. (Photo, Curling Canada/Steve Seixeiro)

Canada’s Team Brad Gushue opens world men’s with a victory over Czechia

SCHAFFHAUSEN, SWITZERLAND — Canada’s Team Brad Gushue was taken to the limit during the opening round-robin draw at the 2024 LGT World Men’s Curling Championship on Saturday.

In the end, an open hit for one in an extra end led Canada’s team from St. John’s, N.L., to a 9-8 win over Czechia’s Team Lukas Klima at IWC Arena.

Czechia went toe-to-toe with the Canadians. For every obstacle Team Gushue threw in the way of its opposition, Czechia seemed to have an answer. 

What Canada did well, though, was control the scoreboard and dictate play so Gushue, vice-skip Mark Nichols, second E.J. Harnden, lead Geoff Walker, alternate Kyle Doering, coach Caleb Flaxey, and national coach Jeff Stoughton had hammer in the extra frame.

While it is a win in the standings, some adjustments are needed. Gushue said his team needs to fine-tune weights, dial in on draw weights, and match rocks.

“It wasn’t really our best game. I didn’t feel like we had any ends set up, and when we got to Mark’s rocks, we wondered how we could clean things up,” Gushue said.

Nichols’s shotmaking was on display as early as the first end, when he made a triple takeout to clear the house and help Canada earn a single point.

In the fourth, Team Gushue was in trouble following an awry runback, which left Czechia nicely sitting three in a row and then a fourth after another draw. A couple of successful raises later by Canada turned the end around and Czechia was forced to score one.

Czechia skip Lukas Klima went the distance against Canada. (Photo, Curling Canada/Steve Seixeiro)

“There were a couple of great ones from Mark in and end where it looked like we were going to give up four or five,” Gushue said.” “In that end, we were talking about how we were going to keep them the three; that was part of the discussion. It was not shaping up well, so to get a force out of that was great.”

By the fifth, Canada had gained the upper end with its first big score in the event. Nichols moved a lot of granite on his final shot and left Canada sitting three. With Czechia unable to recover, Canada scored three on an open hit and took the first two-point lead of the game. But Czechia replied with three of its own in the sixth. 

The back-and-forth momentum continued into the ninth end when Canada scored the only stolen point of the game. It looked like Canada would force its opponents to take one, but Czechia’s last rock was wide and rolled out, leaving Canada with a single point and a two-point lead heading into the 10th.

Canada nearly made a double in the 10th which would have ended the game, but the Czechia stone hung onto the 12-foot as a biter. It led to a score of two and forced the extra end. 

“Brad made some beauties, and I had a couple of doubles and triples in there, too, which always feels good to make,” Nichols said. “The crowd is loud, and they’re into it and supporting Switzerland, but there’s a lot of Canadian fans in the stands supporting us here, and we want to put on a show for them here too.” 

Canada’s next game at the 2024 LGT World Men’s Curling Championship is later today at 2 p.m. ET against Germany’s Team Marc Muskatewitz. Germany did not play during the opening draw.

In other action, the reigning champions from Scotland, Team Bruce Mouat, earned a 10-3 win over South Korea’s Team Jongduk Park, Sweden’s Team Niklas Edin burst out the gates with a 7-1 victory against Team Wouter Goesgens of the Netherlands and Team John Shuster and the United States upset the hometown favourites Switzerland’s Team Yannick Schwaller by a score of 5-3.

After the round-robin wraps up Friday evening, the third through sixth-ranked teams compete in playoff qualification games (3 vs. 6; 4 vs. 5), with the winners advancing to the semifinals. The semifinal winners play in the gold-medal game, and the losers play for the bronze. 

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For live scoring, standings and statistics, click here.

TSN/RDS, the official broadcast partner of Curling Canada’s Season of Champions, will provide live coverage of Canada’s round robin and all playoff games. Click here for the broadcast schedule.

Non-Canadian round-robin games are available through World Curling’s streaming platform, The Curling Channel.

The French version of this story will be posted as soon as possible here.

Curling Canada