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Canadians go three for three in day two at Pan Continental Curling Championships


KELOWNA, B.C. — Brad Gushue didn't take long to get over an opening day loss at the Pan Continental Curling Championships at Kelowna Curling Club.

The Canadian skip from St. John's N.L., who dropped an 8-5 decision to Jongduk Park of South Korea on Sunday in the men's A Division round-robin opener, knocked off Anton Hood's New Zealand team 8-2 in Monday's early draw, then beat Korey Dropkin's U.S. squad, skipped by Andrew Stopera, 7-5 in 11 ends in the evening draw.

Gushue, with vice-skip Mark Nichols, second E.J. Harnden and lead Geoff Walker, scored one in the opening end and Hood responded with two in the second. Gushue then scored two in the third, one in the fourth and two more in the fifth and then coasted to the seven-end victory.

In other early draw results, South Korea beat Jay Merchant's Australian crew 9-6, Korey Dropkin's U.S. squad, skipped by Andrew Stopera, beat Randolph Shen's Taiwan team 8-2 in eight ends, and Riku Yanagisawa of Japan rocked Rayad Husain's Guyana crew 9-2 in seven ends.

In the late game, Gushue was up 3-0 after three ends and the teams exchanged singles in the fourth and fifth ends. The U.S. scored two in the sixth to reduce the deficit to 4-3. Dropkin tied the game 4-4 with a single in the eighth and then the teams exchanged singles in the ninth and 10th. Gushue scored two in the 11th to post the victory and improve to 2-1. The U.S. slipped to 2-1.

“I think this is a good character builder,” said Harnden, who had his best shooting game of the championships, firing at 93 per cent.

“I think we’re moving in the right direction. There were some good things out there. We’re not quite where we want to be yet, but I think we’re close. This should be something we should look at as a positive moving forward.”

"We hung in there,” said Gushue. “We scrapped through nine and then played a great 10th end to force them (to take one), and a pretty good 11th end. We had a couple bad ones, but we had a couple good ones to make up for it.”

In other games, New Zealand (2-1) rocked winless Guyana (0-3) 11-1 in six ends; Japan (3-0) beat Australia (0-3) 11-6 in eight ends; and South Korea (3-0) beat Taiwan 9-6 in nine ends.

Gushue plays unbeaten Japan on Tuesday in his team's only game of the day.

In women's action, Kerri Einarson's Canadian crew from Gimli, Man., rebounded from a Sunday night loss to defeat Jennifer Westhagen's Australian team 9-5 on Monday to improve to 2-1.

“I play good with a lack of sleep,” Einarson joked. “As a skip, you revisit all those shots (you missed) throughout the night. You have to put that aside and really focus on learning the ice and figuring out our throws. Today, we got our rocks in some really good spots and put some pressure on them.”

As the game progressed, skip Einarson, vice-skip Val Sweeting, second Shannon Birchard, lead Briane Harris and national coaches Renée Sonnenberg and Viktor Kjell did not have to reach too deep into their tool box to get past winless Australia (0-3).

Einarson ended the game with a score of two in the eighth, followed by a steal of one in the ninth to defeat the Australian nation, which is seeking its first-ever appearance at the women’s world curling championship.

Einarson is looking forward to a two-game day on Tuesday against New Zealand’s Team Jessica Smith (1-2), followed by Team Tabitha Peterson of the U.S. (3-0).

In other women’s action Monday, New Zealand’s Team Smith beat Cynthia Lu of Taiwan (0-3) 11-7; Japan’s Satsuki Fujisawa (3-0) remained undefeated after a 9-1 win against Mexico’s Adriana Camarena (1-2); and Peterson of the U.S needed an extra end to defeat South Korea’s Eunji Gim (2-1) 9-8.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Oct. 30, 2023.