Canada men claim second Pan Continental title

Team Canada © WCF / Stephen Fisher

Defending champions and hosts Canada defeated Korea 8-3 in Saturday afternoon’s gold medal game after nine ends.

After a blanked opener, Canadian skip Brad Gushue made a tricky hit and stay for a score of one in the second end.

In the third, Korean skip Park Jongduk produced a nose-hit to score two and take a 2-1 lead into the fourth, which Canada blanked. Gushue attempted to raise a guard with a run-back for two in the fifth but was not quite accurate enough, taking just one and levelling the game going into the break.

The game took a turn in the sixth when Canada took a 4-2 lead after Gushue played a hit and roll to lie two and Korean skip Park Jongduk’s attempted take out caught a guard, handing Canada a steal of two.

Canada’s E.J. Harnden © WCF / Rebecca Villagracia

Canada continued to apply pressure in the seventh. With two Canadian counters in the house, Park missed and rolled out giving Canada another two and a 6-2 lead. Korea kept themselves in the game with a pinpoint draw from Park to save one in the eighth.

Canada dealt the decisive blow in the ninth, when Gushue drew the button for a score of two to lead 8-3. Korea conceded, handing Canada their second successive Pan Continental title.

After the game, Gushue explained that composure was key to his team’s success.

“Experienced helped…I don’t think we got too rattled.

“We hung in there. I think that we managed the game really well and never let it get away from us.

“When we were missing a few shots, I think it would have been really easy to be overly aggressive or make a silly call and give up a big end, but we kept it tight and allowed him (Park) to make the mistake and fortunately we got two of them in the sixth and seventh.”

Gushue went on to praise the playing conditions in Kelowna.

Canada and Korea © WCF / Steve Seixeiro

“As far as curling club ice (goes), this is some of the best we’ve ever played on.”

Meanwhile, Park was proud of the efforts of his team this week despite the loss.

“There were a lot of challenges…but when I’m on the ice with my teammates they were giving their one hundred percent on the ice, so I feel proud of them.”

Men’s medallists:

Gold (Canada): Brad Gushue (skip), Mark Nichols (third), E.J. Harnden (second), Geoff Walker (lead) supported by alternate Jim Cotter and coach Caleb Flaxey.

Silver (Korea): Park Jongduk (skip), Jeong Yeongseok (third), Oh Seunghoon (second), Seong Jihoon (lead) supported by alternate Lee Kibok and coach Lee Yejun.

Bronze (Japan): Yanagisawa Riku (skip), Yamaguchi Tsuyoshi (third), Yamamoto Takeru (second), Koizumi Satoshi (lead) supported by alternate Usui Shingo and coach Bob Ursel.

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Kelowna, Canada

5 November 2023
Pan Continental Curling Championships 2023