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.

Earlier, Canada's Kerri Einarson broke open a close game with four points in the eighth end of a 9-3 victory over Japan's Satsuki Fujisawa.

Einarson, from Gimli, Man., made a runback with her final stone to put the game out of reach. She iced the victory with a steal of one in the ninth end to improve to 6-1. Japan fell to 6-2 in round-robin play.

Coming off her rink's first loss on Thursday against the U.S., Einarson felt her side did it what it needed to bounce back.

“We shook that game off and came out and played like we can,” she said. “It’s not that it was a horrible game (Thursday); we just weren’t capitalizing on our opportunities. Today, we regrouped and came out there with a solid game.”

Einarson was to close her round-robin schedule against South Korea's Seungyoun Ha.

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