Canada's Gushue secures top seed in playoffs at Pan Continental Curling Championships

CALGARY — Canada's Brad Gushue defeated Randie Shen of Chinese Taipei 11-3 to secure the top seed in the playoffs at the Pan Continental Curling Championships on Friday.

Gushue's rink from St. John's, N.L., sits ahead of the Americans (6-1), South Korea (6-1) and Japan (3-4) in the standings with round-robin play coming to a close.

Canada (6-1) is set to take on Japan, winners of three straight, in the semifinals on Saturday.

“Japan has looked like a different (team) over the last couple of games than it was early in the week, and they seem to be coming on strong. It’s going to be a really tough game for us,” Gushue said.

“We’re in pretty good shape, I think, and we’re playing pretty well. I think in some of the last couple of games where we got the big leads that keeping the motivation at a high level was a challenge, but I tried to play as many tough shots as possible to keep us engaged, and we made a lot of them.”

The U.S. will take on South Korea in the other semifinal.

Canada scored four points across the first three ends to take the lead early. After a double from Chinese Taipei (2-5) in the fourth end, the Canadians recorded a five-point fifth to take full command of the game.

Following a single in the sixth end from Chinese Taipei, Canada iced the game with a double in the seventh.

“We had a really good week for our draws," Gushue said. "When we look back at what we did at the worlds and the Olympics last time, we didn’t do very good. So we made a lot of good draws this week and put some on the pin, and it’s paid off on getting first place.”

In other men's games, South Korea defeated Australia 9-4, the U.S. beat Brazil 9-3 and Japan topped New Zealand 9-5.

Later, Canada's Kerri Einarson closed her round-robin schedule with a 7-4 win over South Korea's Seungyoun Ha in the evening draw.

Einarson, from Gimli, Man., also defeated Japan's Satsuki Fujisawa 9-3 in the morning draw.

Canada (7-1) will take on Japan (6-2) once again in Saturday's semifinal as the second seed in the playoffs. The U.S. (7-1) will face South Korea (6-2) in the other semifinal.

“We’re definitely playing really well, and to beat two really good teams that have been playing well all week (is good),” Einarson said. “But we know we have to come out really sharp (Saturday).”

After South Korea opened with a steal of one in the first, Canada notched a triple then a single in the next two ends to take a 4-1 lead.

South Korea notched two points in the fourth end to pull within one until the Canadians scored two more in the next two ends to push the lead to 6-3.

Following a scoreless seventh, South Korea made it a two-point game in the eighth. Canada added one more for good measure in the 10th to win it after neither side scored in the ninth end.

In other evening draw action, the U.S. defeated New Zealand 9-2, Australia topped Hong Kong 9-6 and Kazakhstan downed Brazil 13-7.

The competition, which continues through Sunday, serves as a qualifier for the world championships later this season.

Canada has already qualified in both men's and women's competitions.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Nov. 4, 2022.

The Canadian Press