Sweden bests Canada with last-rock gold-medal victory at 2024 LGT World Men’s Curling Championship

Image: Depositphotos.com

SCHAFFHAUSEN, SWITZERLAND — Canada pushed Sweden to the limit during the gold-medal game at the 2024 LGT World Men’s Curling Championship, but Team Brad Gushue came up just short.

Sweden bested Canada 6-5 in Sunday’s gold-medal game at IWC Arena.

Skip Gushue, vice-skip Mark Nichols, second E.J. Harnden, lead Geoff Walker, alternate Kyle Doering, coach Caleb Flaxey, and national coach Jeff Stoughton didn’t start the game with the hammer and tried to muster back control of it throughout the game. While hope was waning part way through, Canada came back in the second half to nearly steal the victory away in the 10th end.

Tied 5-5, Canada was sitting three in the house and positioned to force the Swedes to a wide frost-accumulated draw path. Sweden needed to hit the side of the four-foot to score, and thanks to a perfect throw, line call, and sweep, the shot settled in the back four for a single point and the Swedish victory.

“We couldn’t [do anymore]. With the setup that we had, that’s as good as we could have hoped for, a draw to the four-foot in a fresh path,” Gushue said. “Mark made some great shots, and I made two great shots, and we forced them into a tough one. When we were down 3-0, and you would have told me that we’d give them that shot to win, I think we probably would have taken it, to be quite honest,” Gushue said.

“We fought, made a lot of shots and we forced them to play a very, very difficult shot. I think that’s a shot you probably miss more than you make, to be honest. Credit to him, he made a great shot and no better way for him to win a world championship, but it kind of sucks for us,” he added.

The game didn’t always look like it would go the distance. Sweden had a great start out of the gates, earning a deuce in the second end thanks to a cross-house hit-and-roll behind cover earlier.

A key moment for the Canadians was in the third end when Sweden stole a point for a 3-0 lead. Team Gushue had a hit-and-roll out to blank the end, but the shot was redirected off a corner guard.

Besides the one flaw, Team Gushue played exceptionally to get back into the game and shot 87 per cent efficiency as a unit. Sweden was just as good, reaching 95 per cent efficiency as a team. However, Canada took advantage of the rare Swedish errors to get back into the game.

In the fourth, Team Gushue had about as great of a response as possible. Sweden made an error during third stones which left a Canadian counter in the house. That allowed Canada an opportunity to split the house and eventually make a hit for two to trail by one. However, Sweden blanked the fifth and prevented Canada from setting up aggressive ends by making a few runbacks and peels to clean the guard zone.

Sweden and Canada exchanged singles in the sixth, seventh and eighth ends.

With the hammer in the ninth, Canada put together a second of two on a tapback around a guard to tie the game.

Edin improves his head-to-head record with Gushue at world men’s gold-medal games to 3-1 after besting the Canadian skip in 2018, 2022 and now 2024.

It is Sweden’s 12th gold medal at the world men’s championship and Edin’s record seventh championship as a skip. Edin has been in six of the last seven gold-medal games, only missing in 2023 at Ottawa.

“It feels indescribable, and it feels so good after this week. It felt like we played so well the whole week obviously it was going to be a tough one,” Edin said.

Meanwhile, it is the fourth silver medal earned by Gushue, Nichols and Walker after earning second-place medals in 2018, 2022 and 2023. Harnden has earned two in his career, his first being from 2013 with skip Brad Jacobs.

“For the fourth time, silver sucks. To be second in the world, we have to be proud of what we did, but it’s just disappointing. That’s four [losses] in a row for me and I’m sure at some point down the road I’ll appreciate it more than I do now, but right now it’s tough to take,” Gushue said.

World Curling named the world men’s all-star team earlier today during the bronze-medal game, and two Canadians were selected. The back-end combination of Gushue at skip and Nichols at third earned the honour. Gushue led all fourth-rock throwers with 88.4 per cent accuracy, and Nichols led third with 91 per cent accuracy.

Earlier in the day, Italy’s Team Joel Retornaz came from behind to defeat Scotland’s Team Bruce Mouat in an extra end by a score of 7-6. Italy had to score three in the 10th end to tie the game and steal a single for the win. It is the second time the Italians have won bronze at the world men’s championship. Team Retornaz also won in 2022.

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