Einarson crew trips New Zealand, Gushue beat by U.S. at Pan Continental Championship

CALGARY — Kerri Einarson's Canada squad scored five in the eighth end to complete an 11-3 win over New Zealand on Monday in its opening match at the inaugural Pan Continental Curling Championships.

With Canada sitting four in the final end, Einarson drew for a fifth point on her last shot, leading to New Zealand conceding the game.

“We wanted to play our game and put some pressure on them,” Einarson said. “We couldn’t get lulled into the hitting game, and we thought that if we keep putting pressure on them, we’d get some opportunities and capitalize on them.”

Einarson and her team from Gimli, Man., opened with the hammer and scored two points in the first end. Canada followed with a steal in the second to take an early 3-0 lead.

New Zealand, facing the powerhouse Canadians in a World Curling Federation-sanctioned women's competition for the first time, scored two in the third end to cut the lead to 3-2.

The heavily favoured Canadians responded with another sequence of a two-point end followed by a steal of one to go up 6-2.

New Zealand scored one in the sixth end to cut the lead to 6-3. After Einarson blanked the seventh end, the teams shook hands after Canada's five-point eighth.

Brad Gushue's crew of St. John's, N.L., opened the competition Monday afternoon with a 10-8 loss in 11 ends to the Korey Dropkin's team from the United States.

Gushue held a 4-3 lead after six ends, but in the seventh his team uncharacteristically struggled with draws at Calgary's WinSport Event Centre and the U.S. jumped on the miscues and scored four points to go up 7-4.

Gushue battled back with deuces in the eighth and 10th ends — he held Dropkin to one in the ninth — to tie the game 8-8, but couldn't steal the victory in the extra end.

“The seventh end — two rocks that we put in the worst possible position and they made their shots and we couldn’t get out of it,” said Gushue. “But the first five ends — that’s the best we’ve played all year and he (Dropkin) kept them in it. He made some great shots. The game could have got away from them real quick.

"... It sucks to lose. We’ve gotten away with stuff like that all year where we’ve misplaced some rocks and we haven’t got burned. (Today) was a good lesson; we deserved to get burned more than we have all year.

"But one loss won’t make or break it at the end of the week. You just have to get yourself in the playoffs and play well on Saturday and Sunday.”

Canada's next game is against Brazil on Tuesday. Brazil dropped a 9-3 decision in seven ends to Chinese Taipei earlier on Monday.

The seven-day event is the qualification route for the 2023 world championships for all countries outside of Europe.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Oct. 31, 2022.

The Canadian Press