Last year, Team Canada’s Brad Gushue ran the table in Edmonton, going 13-0 to win the world men’s curling championship.
This year, at the Las Vegas worlds, Gushue has now dropped two games in a row.
Gushue and his team of Mark Nichols, Brett Gallant and Geoff Walker from the Bally Haly Curling Club and Re/Max Centre in St. John’s fell 6-5 to Sweden's Niklas Edin Friday.
The loss means Gushue won't get a bye to Saturday's semifinals.
Gushue has to win a quarterfinal 1 p.m. Saturday to stay in medal contention.
Sweden and Scotland's Bruce Mouat earned the semifinal byes.
Friday’s game at the Orleans Arena off the Las Vegas Strip was a rematch of last year’s world final, but this time, it was Edin’s Swedish team coming out on top with a 6-5 victory that wasn’t secured until Edin drew to the four-foot with his final delivery of the 10th end.
With the win, Sweden improved to 10-1 and nailed down a bye directly to today’s semifinals, while Canada dropped to 8-3 — guaranteed of third place in the 13-team round-robin standings and knowing it will play in this morning’s quarter-final against the sixth-place finisher.
Canada finishes up Friday night with a game against Germany’s Alexander Baumann.
Edin took advantage of two first-end miscues from Canadian third Mark Nichols, making a runback double takeout to score three to open the game, and put Canada in a hole early on.
“It was a horrible start by me; I didn’t play very well, the first four or five ends, and the guys hung in there as much as we could and finally started putting pressure on them,” said Nichols. “We played a really good last five ends, we put lots of pressure on them. We just have to do that for the full game.”
“Outside of the three, I thought we were as good (as Sweden) or better,” said Gushue. “We put some pressure on them in a number of ends. Niklas himself played real well. But I liked everything about that game other than our start.
“It was just two shots (in the first end), really. That’s all it was. I feel like — well, I know we’re the best team in the world. It’s not a matter of feeling it. So I knew that we would outcurl them for (the final nine ends). It’s just that three is a lot to spot them. But I felt we could grind back.”
With files from Curling Canada