LAS VEGAS – After taking a few weeks off to enjoy the Canadian men’s curling title in his fourth career, Brad Gushu started where he left off at the World Championships on Saturday.
Gushu and his St. John’s-based team – with Vice Mark Nichols – posted a 6-4 victory over Lucas Klimer’s formidable Czech team at the Orleans Arena.
“It seems easy with four people, but the ice is very difficult,” said Gushu “It’s going to be a challenge all week.”
After Canada settled for a single in the ninth over, the Czechs conceded their final shot before the 10th shot because they had no chance to tie the game. In the evening draw, Gushu won 6-7 against Magnus Radamsfazel of Norway.
There were several stories going on for the opening day of the round-robin game.
Nichols is back after Tim Hortons went missing in Briar last weekend due to a positive COVID-19 test result. Gushu, second Brett Gallant and lead Geoff Walker were able to win three consecutive playoff games as a trio for the title.
The team announced less than a week later that Gallant would leave the rink at the end of the season.
And last but not least, the 9,500-seat venue just off the Vegas Strip was in a state of ice – snowfall in some places and speed fluctuations in others – which gave the squad something else to think about.
“When the ice condition is tough, you try and limit the misses,” Gushu said. “I thought we did a good job of it. I never felt we were in any danger of losing that game.”
Both teams had a few hiccups in the beginning as they settled into the rarely present four-sheet venue. Gushue rolled out on an open hit for two on the first end but managed a steal in the second for a 2-0 lead.
Klima, avoiding the world for the first time, drew against four to get the Czechs on board but Gusuye answered by raising an angle for a deuce.
There were plenty of curls on the ice but some players seemed to be interrupted by occasional speed. During the afternoon draw, the mercury reached 31 degrees Celsius outside the building.
The Czechs earn their first dive at the seventh end and Gushu steals when he misses a double takeout.
The Canadians made some unusual mistakes on the ninth end that cost them a chance for a pair. Nicholas threw his last stone through the house and Gushu was heavy with his last stone.
“It’s hard to sit there and be very confident when you’re throwing those shots because it’s a bit of a guess,” Gushu said.
Gusuye shot a team-low 78 percent while Klima shot a game-low 64 percent.
Sweden’s Nicholas Edin defeated Netherlands’ Water Goesgens 6-4, Norway defeated South Korea’s Su-Huk Kim 6-3 and American Corey Dropkin defeated Denmark’s Tobias Thun 6-2.
In the evening, Scotland’s Kyle Waddell defeated Italy’s Joel Retornaz 5-4, Germany’s Sixteen Totzek 13-7, defeated Goesgens and Finland’s Kale Kiskinen defeated Switzerland’s Yannick Schuler 6-4.
Underneath the one with the hammer at the 10th end, Gushu made a double tap to sit under the two covers. Norway’s angle-up almost worked but the stone stopped to finish the game.
Gushue won gold in his first appearance at the World Championships, surpassing Edin in 2017 in Edmonton.
Edin won the match again a year later in Las Vegas. The current Olympic champion has entered this year’s competition as a three-time defending champion.
The round robin game will continue until Friday.
The top six teams will advance to the playoffs. The medal game is set for April 10.
Canada’s Kerry Ainerson won bronze at the Women’s World Championships in Prince George last week, while BC Switzerland’s Silvana Tirinjoni lost to South Korea’s Yunjong Kim for gold.