Six-end win!

Team Canada bested Switzerland in six ends on Friday night at the 2024 LGT World Men’s Curling Championship. (Photo, Curling Canada/Steve Seixeiro)

Canada claims second in standings and semifinal berth at 2024 world men’s championship

SCHAFFHAUSEN, SWITZERLAND — Canada will bypass the first round of the playoffs after earning a semifinal berth at the 2024 LGT World Men’s Curling Championship, presented by New Holland.

Team Brad Gushue, of St. John’s, N.L., earned an 8-1 win over Switzerland’s Team Yannick Schwaller (6-6) in the final round-robin game on Friday night at IWC Arena. Canada’s 10-2 record clinches second place in the 13-team field and a guaranteed spot in the semifinals, beginning on Saturday at 10 a.m. (all times ET). 

“We have no idea what the ice conditions are going to be like tomorrow, what each team is going to be able to do in those conditions, and who will handle it best. This is a different experience. This isn’t just your traditional curling where you’re trying to place rocks,” Gushue said. “You really have to manage the ice and the paths, and you need a little bit of luck. There are a lot more variables out there, so when you can get to the semifinal and know you only have two more games to win, that’s key. I’m thrilled not to have to play that qualification game.”

Gushue, vice-skip Mark Nichols, second E.J. Harnden, lead Geoff Walker, alternate Kyle Doering, coach Caleb Flaxey and national coach Jeff Stoughton took control of the game early, blanking the first and stringing together some meticulous shotmaking in the second to score a four-ender. 

On Canada’s first skip stone, Team Gushue made a short nose tap that had to be exact. Any roll on the shot stone would have set the Swiss up with a double. On their next, the Canadians made a thin angle raise to score four.

“Mark made two really good shots, and I followed them up with two good shots as well. The end wasn’t set up ideally for us, but when Mark makes them as good as he did, it flips the end around and allows us to be aggressive,” Gushue said. “If Mark continues to play like this, then we have a chance. We just have to get those ends set up a little bit better than we have been.” 

Canada’s Brad Gushue has earned his team a spot in the semifinals at the 2024 LGT World Men’s Curling Championship. (Photo, Curling Canada/Steve Seixeiro)

Switzerland, a perennial playoff contender, lost its final four games and was eliminated from the playoff picture earlier in the day.

“We didn’t really know what to expect after they got knocked out of the playoffs in the previous game. Would it relieve the pressure, and they would play with house money? Or would it be such a let-down that they came out flat? Fortunately for us, it was the second,” said Gushue. 

Canada stole in the third and fourth ends as well. Swiss fourth-rock thrower Benoit Schwarz-Van Berkel attempted an in-off in the third and gave up the single. In the fourth, Switzerland attempted a quadruple takeout but only removed two Canadian stones to give up another two.

Switzerland was forced to a single in the fifth end and conceded in the sixth after giving up one. It was Canada’s second six-end game of the day, after defeating Japan earlier in a similar fashion.

“At this point in time, playing a few less ends is always a benefit and needed in order to get a little extra rest and recovery. This was a big game because it got us straight into the semifinal. That was an awesome win and an awesome day today,” Harnden said.

With only the top two teams advancing directly to the final four, the Canadian win squandered any chance of Scotland’s Team Bruce Mouat (10-2) earning a semifinal bye. While Scotland earned a win to tie Canada in the standings, the head-to-head results were in favour of Team Gushue.

Scotland served Sweden’s Team Niklas Edin (11-1) its first loss of the event with an 8-6 win. Since Sweden had already clinched first place regardless of tonight’s result, Swedish third Oskar Eriksson took over skip duties, and Edin took the night off for rest.

Italy’s Team Joel Retornaz (8-4) clinched fifth place in the standings after an 8-2 victory against Norway’s Team Magnus Ramsfjell (4-8). That result settled the fate of the U.S.A.’s Team John Shuster (7-5) as the sixth seed. The Americans did not play on Friday night but needed an Italian loss to earn fifth place.

Germany’s Team Marc Muskatewitz (8-4) had the evening bye but sealed its fate as the fourth-ranked team in the playoffs after defeating Switzerland earlier today.

In a game with no playoff implications, but Olympic qualification points on the line, Team Wouter Goesgens of the Netherlands (5-7) defeated New Zealand’s Team Anton Hood (0-12) by a score of 7-5.

Canada plays the winner of Scotland’s Team Mouat vs. Team Shuster of the United States. Meanwhile, Sweden awaits the winner of Germany’s Team Muskatewitz against Italy’s Team Retornaz. Those qualification games are slated for Saturday at 4 a.m.

The semifinal winners play in the gold-medal game this Sunday at 9 a.m., and the losers play for the bronze at 4 a.m.

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Curling Canada