KELOWNA, B.C. — Defending champion Brad Gushue of Canada advanced to the men's final at the 2023 Pan Continental Curling Championships with an 8-3 win over Andrew Stopera of the United States on Friday.
Gushue's team from St. John's, N.L., which also includes vice-skip Mark Nichols, second E.J. Harnden and lead Geoff Walker, broke open a close game with three points in the ninth end and stole two more in the 10th to seal the win.
Canada's opportunity came in the ninth when a stone from Stopera failed to make the hog line and was removed from play.
Nichols made a takeout, which distributed three Canadian stones across the house. American fourth-rock thrower Korey Dropkin missed a couple of double-takeout attempts, and Gushue had an open draw for three.
"Fortunately for us, we got that hogged rock on Andrew’s shot and that gave us a good opportunity to score two," Gushue said. "Then we were fortunate to get three because you don’t often see Korey miss two doubles, so we were a little lucky on that one.”
Canada will face South Korea's Jongduk Park for gold on Saturday. Park defeated Japan’s Riku Yanagisawa 8-7 in the other semifinal.
Canada and South Korea faced off in the first round-robin game of the week, with South Korea coming away with an 8-5 win.
“We want to be in that game. We play Korea, so we get an opportunity to play them again," Gushue said. "We had a rough game against them the first game, so hopefully, we can give them our best and see how it turns out."
Later Friday, Tabitha Peterson of the United States scored once in the 10th to force an extra end and then stole one in the 11th to edge Kerri Einarson's crew from Gimli, Man., 8-7 in the bronze-medal final.
Einarson scored an important three in the ninth end to take a 7-6 lead and had last rock in the decisive 11th but failed to produce a point on a final draw. Canada dropped an 8-4 decision to Eunji Gim's South Korea squad in Thursday's semifinals.
“That’s kind of been how these tight-game losses have gone. We just wrestled for control and eventually put ourselves in a position to get it and then would let off," said Canadian vice-skip Val Sweeting.
"Ultimately, I thought we played really good games. We just have to capitalize when we get opportunities. We would have a miss at the wrong time from any one of us; a half shot is the difference."
Satsuki Fujisawa of Japan and South Korea meet in Saturday's gold-medal final.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published Nov. 3, 2023.
The Canadian Press