Gushue fails in bid for back-to-back titles

The Canadian Press

LAS VEGAS–Niklas Edin would not be denied gold at the men’s world curling championship after falling just short of it at the Olympic Games.
His Swedish team was on a mission in Las Vegas and dominated Canada’s Brad Gushue 7-3 to take the title last night.
Gushue, who beat Edin for gold last year in Edmonton, shook hands after eight ends.
“Real disappointed, obviously,” Gushue said. “It wasn’t our best effort.
“They played extremely well today and the only positive I can look at from our standpoint is even if we came out and played really good, it may not have been good enough,” he added.
Sweden’s world championship gold eased the sting of losing to John Shuter of the U.S. in the Olympic final back in February.
“A super-nice feeling after winning this gold and a little redemption after that Olympic loss,” Edin noted.
Edin’s third career world title is Sweden’s eighth in the 60-year history of the tournament.
The 32-year-old from Ornskoldsvik, Sweden also won gold in 2015 in Halifax and 2013 in Victoria.
Gushue, vice Mark Nichols, second Brett Gallant, and lead Geoff Walker, out of the Bally Haly Golf and Country Club in St. John’s, N.L., were trying to become the fifth team to win back-to-back world titles.
Canada’s Randy Ferbey (2002-3), Don Duguid (1970-71), Ron Northcott (1968-69), and Ernie Richardson (1959-60, 1962-63) were the others.
But with the 86-year-old Richardson and former Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper watching at the Orleans Arena, Gushue trailed 5-0 after five ends against a big-hitting Swedish team that excels at defence.
Edin, who went 11-1 in the preliminary round, earned last-rock advantage in the first end as the higher playoff seed.
Canada went 9-3 in the round-robin.
After blanking two ends, Sweden scored two in the third and then stole three points over the next two.
Gushue was light on a draw against two Swedish stones in the fourth end.
He missed an attempted double take-out to score two in the fifth to give up another steal.
“Once you’re down four-nothing and especially five-nothing, you’re not going to come back against Niklas Edin,” Gushue said.
Gushue’s tournament was more stressful than a year ago in Edmonton, where his team went undefeated.
The four men also were in a confident, relaxed zone last month in Regina, where they lost only one game en route to a second-straight Canadian title.
In Las Vegas, though, Gushue struggled with reads of ice that he felt often was different from one day to the next.
Nichols played through the grief of his mother’s death just prior to the tournament.
His shooting percentage of 87 was the best among thirds in the preliminary round.
Helen Nichols died a week before the tournament began at the age of 63. Gallant’s grandfather, Lorne Burke, died three days later.
“I thought both of them, with the situation that they had, played extremely well,” Gushue said.
“As a team, we handled it as well as we could.”
Gushue will return to the 2019 Tim Hortons Brier in Brandon, Man. as Team Canada.
The 2019 men’s world curling championship will be in Lethbridge, Alta.
Many Canadian teams shuffled their lineups post-Olympics but Gushue said he won’t.
“We’re going to stay together. This is one bad week,” the skip reasoned. “We’re at a good point if we say our bad week was silver-medallist at the world championship.
“We have to keep this in perspective,” Gushue stressed. “It’s one loss. It’s not going to define us.”
The Scots skipped by 23-year-old Bruce Mouat beat South Korea 11-4 for bronze earlier yesterday in Mouat’s world championship debut.