Canada put a quick and decisive end to Sweden’s domination at the world men’s curling championship Saturday afternoon with an emphatic 9-1 victory at TD Place.
In the process, Canada lived another day — or at least another few hours — moving on to play Switzerland in the semifinals on Saturday night.
Canada opened with two points in the first end and led 3-1 after five. Canada stole a grand total of six points during the game, including three in a seventh end, when Swedish skip Niklas Edin missed a low-percentage takeout shot.
It was shocking result, considering that Sweden had won four consecutive world titles. Coming into this tournament, Sweden had won 10 consecutive games against Canada at the men’s world curling championship.
But Saturday’s win, coupled with Canada’s 8-5 round-robin victory over Sweden in front of a patriotic and spirited crowd of Canadian fans on Friday night, made it two straight wins for the home country. Sweden, which had been rolling early in the championship, also lost Friday afternoon against Switzerland. This marks the first time since 2016 that Sweden has lost three consecutive games at the world championship.
“I felt really comfortable at the start,” Gushue said. “Obviously the crowd energy continued (Saturday), and getting off to that start of a two in the first end, I think freed us up a little bit. It feels like it just gives a little bit of a cushion when you do that. And I think it forced Niklas to push a little bit too hard. That call in the seventh was a call we never would have made, and it made it a lot easier for us in the last couple of ends.”
The Swedes received a standing ovation as they left the ice. Their current title run is over, but Edin, who delivered one of the craziest shots in curling history with a wild spinner against Norway earlier in the week, remains one of the best and most popular curlers in the world.
“We can’t be too disappointed. We’ve had a few really good years, a lot of them, actually,” Edin said. “We played pretty well this week, I felt. In the end, I think the Switzerland game, when we lost that one out of nowhere, it kind of turned the tables a little bit. We got behind. We got some really bad rolls. We started just not figuring stuff out.”
It was weird seeing Sweden look so off.
“A rough last third of this event, but I kind of feel like this could have been way different if we played the way we played the first eight or nine games,” Edin said.
In a surprise, Italy knocked off Norway 8-4 in the other qualifying game, advancing to play Scotland in the second semifinal, also on Saturday night.
Canada enters world championship playoffs Saturday after feeling fan fever Friday
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