As was pointed out at the beginning of the movie Ocean’s 11, it’s not often someone manages to pull off a successful robbery in Las Vegas.
So Brad Gushue felt lucky to have produced a little thievery there on Monday afternoon.
Gushue and his Team Canada rink from St. John’s stole a point in the 10th end to scrape out an 8-7 win over Italy's Joel Retornaz the Canadians’ lone game on Day 3 of the men's world curling championship.
After a win that felt like an escape — the Italians came close to scoring the winning point with their last rock — Gushue was thinking about bubbles and how to get in one.
The Canadian skip felt the Orleans Arena ice was quicker and livelier than on the opening weekend of play, but the skip believes he was slow to adapt his reads to the change. He also felt he, third Mark Nichols, second Brett Gallant and lead Geoff Walker haven't been able to establish the same routines they did winning the Canadian championship earlier this month, and the world championship in Edmonton last year.
The arena is a short walk from The Orleans hotel, meaning curlers, fans, officials and volunteers continually mix together at the rink, in the hotel and at the pool.
Gushue says his team prefers separation between the event and their down time.
“This whole Vegas thing is, I don't want to say a distraction, but it's hard to get into a routine,” Gushue said.
“Here, it's hard to get away from the event because even when we're at the hotel, all the fans are there, we can't get away and we have to find a way to get into a better rhythm.
“I'm certainly going to bring it up amongst the team and see if there's anything we can do to get any more in our bubble. It just doesn't feel normal for our team right now at least from my perspective.”
The win over Italy gave Gushue and his defending champions a record of 3-1, putting them in a tie for third with China, South Korea and Scotland, behind Sweden and Norway, who were 4-0.
Canada and Scotland didn’t play Monday night, but the other teams in the top six did have games in the late draw.
On Monday, the Italians had the hammer in the 10th end, with the score tied 7-7, but with Gushue counting two in the rings, Amos Mosaner, who throws fourth for Italy, opted to play a double takeout instead of drawing to the four-foot rings for the winning point.
The move didn’t pay off. Moasner just grazed Canada's shot stone, leaving it as the counter and giving the Canadians the victory.
Retornaz didn't fault his vice for choosing the hit.
“Most of the time when it comes down to that kind of shot it's better that the thrower has the last word on it,” the Italian said. “I can't as a skip say the draw is better than the hit. It must be something you feel.
“He felt like a hit. He's made big hits this season. I wasn't against that shot. Just missed it by nothing.”
Gushue wasn't surprised Mosaner opted to hit and felt fortunate he missed.
“He's a world-class hitter,” Gushue said. “This feels like house money right now, I guess, being in Vegas.”
Gushue squandered a chance to score two in the ninth when his shooter rolled out on an open hit for the deuce.
“Very proud of how the team recovered after I missed the hit in nine,” he said. “They made six perfect shots in front of me and fortunately I made two good ones as well and forced him into a tough shot.”
Gushue says he and his teammates are throwing accurately, but he's putting the broom down in the wrong spot.
“The ice was a big improvement today. I think I owe it to the icemakers to at least acknowledge that,” he said.
“Again, we had to adjust and we're still learning. It kind of felt like the first game of an event again where you're still trying to learn the ice.
“We've got to get a little bit more comfortable. In particular, I do and a little bit more confident.”