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Canada’s Gushue suffers 1st loss at men’s curling worlds after falling to Italy’s Retornaz

Canada’s Brad Gushue lost his first game at the world men’s curling championship on Monday, dropping a 7-6 decision to Italy’s Joel Retornaz at IWC Arena in Schaffhausen, Switzerland.

Retornaz made an open draw to the four-foot ring in an extra end for the victory. That left his top-ranked Italian team in a four-way tie with Canada, Germany and the United States at 3-1.

Gushue, from St. John’s, N.L., said he was struggling with his rocks in the first half of the game.

“I switched them out and took Geoff [Walker’s] and once I got his it was a much different feel,” he said. “One of my rocks was curling more than the other. It was fooling me and not allowing me to trust where I was putting the broom.”

Sweden’s Niklas Edin (5-0) and defending champion Bruce Mouat of Scotland (4-1) led the round-robin standings after seven draws. American John Shuster and Germany’s Marc Muskatewitz were tied with Canada and Italy at 3-1.

In other afternoon games, Sweden beat Norway’s Magnus Ramsfjell 10-8 in an extra end, Scotland dumped New Zealand’s Anton Hood 8-2 and Switzerland’s Yannick Schwaller posted an 8-5 win over Wouter Goesgens of the Netherlands.

Switzerland was just outside the six-team playoff cutline at 2-2. Norway, the Netherlands, Lukas Klima of the Czech Republic, and Japan’s Shinya Abe were next at 1-3.

Gushue was idle for the Monday evening session. His team of Walker, third Mark Nichols and second E.J. Harnden were set to return Tuesday morning against New Zealand (0-4), before taking on the United States later in the day.

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‘I’m disappointed’

Canada shot 90 per cent on the day against the Italians, who finished at 87 per cent.

The Italians were the first on the board after Canada made an error in the second end. Gushue was heavy on a freeze attempt and Retornaz converted with a draw for a pair.

Canada was forced in the third end as Gushue tried to find his draw weight.

“I’m disappointed,” he said. “For me personally, I missed a couple of shots early that caused that swing of the two and the one. In the third, we had a mini-opportunity to get the deuce back and it came up light.”

Italy gave up a steal in the sixth end after missing several runbacks. That allowed Canada to cluster three stones in the four-foot ring.

Retornaz opted to hit a double-takeout and concede a single, which tied the game.

Canada had a chance for three – and the win – in the 10th end but Gushue’s nose hit rolled too far away and Retornaz followed with a double-takeout. Gushue could only draw for two and the tie.

“We just overswept my first rock,” Gushue said. “If we hit that on the nose, we’re going to lie three, they’ll be buried, and he would have had to play a runback double just to cut us down to two.

“It was a little unfortunate and just a bit of a panic sweep and over-sweep and left Joel an easy double. We still got two, which is tough against those guys, but there was a three there.”

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Round-robin play continues through Friday night. Medal games are scheduled for Sunday.

Canada last won gold at this event in 2017 when Gushue was victorious in Edmonton.

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