Canada's Brad Gushue strengthens playoff push with win over Italy in Beijing_freckle removal ipl

Canada's Brad Gushue strengthens playoff push with win over Italy in BeijingAfter a hitting a bit of a speed bump, Brad Gushue is once again rolling along at the Beijing Olympics.

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Team from St. John’s stays in hunt with 2nd win in a row

John Molinaro · CBC Sports(Eloisa Lopez/Reuters)

After a hitting a bit of a speed bump, Brad Gushue is once again rolling along at the Beijing Olympics

Gushue swept Canada to a 7-3 win over Italy in nine ends on Monday at the Ice Cube in men's curling to improve the team's chances of qualifying for the playoffs. The Canadians have now won two in a row after losing back-to-back games.

"We never really felt like we had an opportunity to be aggressive until the sixth end when we got a two and then again in the ninth [end], so it was a matter of just being patient and not taking any unnecessary chances," Gushue said.

There are 10 nations in the men's curling tournament, with each team playing nine games. The top four at the end of the round robin advance to the medal round. Canada (4-2) is in third, behind Sweden (6-0) and Great Britain (5-1). The Russian Olympic Committee, United States and Switzerland are tied at 3-3. China (2-4) and Norway (2-4) are just barely alive.

Italy (1-5) and Denmark (1-5) have been officially eliminated from playoff contention.

WATCH: Brad Gushue defeats Italy for Canada's 4th men's curling win at Beijing 2022

Brad Gushue defeats Italy for Canada's 4th men's curling win at Beijing 2022

13 hours agoDuration 7:05Brad Gushue improves the Canadian men's curling team's chances of qualifying for the playoffs at Beijing with a 7-3 victory over Italy.7:05

In Monday's other results: Sweden beat the Russian Olympic Committee 7-5, Great Britain edged Switzerland 6-5, and Denmark bested Norway 6-5.

"On one side, we are happy because we were able to play a good game against [Canada], especially in the beginning. On the other side, it's frustrating because we know we're out of the competition," Italian skip Joël Retornaz said.

Canada's next game is against China on Monday at 8:05 p.m. ET.

"All of our [remaining] games are going to be big. We don't want to get into that three loss situation. We want to control our own fate, we know that if we win the rest of our games we're going to get to the playoffs so that's really our focus at this point," Gushue said.
  • Canada's Brad Gushue snaps 2-game skid with crucial win over U.S. in men's Olympic curling
  • ORAL HISTORYBrad Gushue's unlikely and emotional run to Olympic gold at Torino 2006

This was the second Olympic contest between Gushue and Retornaz, who posted an unforgettable upset win over the Canadian during the round robin of the 2006 competition in Turin. They also faced off during the round robin of the 2017 world championship in Edmonton with Gushue coming out on top.

Gushue and Mark Nichols, who won Olympic gold in 2006, are joined on this current Canadian squad by first-time Olympians Geoff Walker and Brett Gallant.

Italy tried to go for the blank in the first end, but Retornaz's double take-out on his final stone jammed up on him, and Canada stole one. Gushue's rink applied lots of pressure on the Italians early in the next end before Retornaz scored a single following a force by Canada.

Gushue's draw to the button after an Italian force saw Canada retake the lead after three ends. With Canada lying two in the fourth end, Retornaz's take-out on his last skip stone saw Italy score one to tie things up at 2-2.

WATCH: That Curling Show: Checking in with the Gushues

That Curling Show: Checking in with the Gushues

2 days agoDuration 5:36Brad Gushue’s parents, wife, and children all join the show to talk about how they’ve been doing while watching the games from home and his father Raymond gives his wishful prediction for the team moving forward.5:36

The score remained levelled following a blanked fifth end before Gushue scored the first deuce of the game with his take-out to put Canada in front 4-2 after six ends.

A blanked seventh end saw Italy retain the hammer. With Canada lying two in the eighth, Retornaz drew to the button with the hammer for one to cut into Gushue's lead. But it could have been much worse for Canada, as Italy had a good chance at three before Italian third Amos Mosaner came up short. Nichols' double take-out ended up limiting the damage.

An Italian meltdown in the ninth allowed Gushe to score three with his final skip stone as Canada took a 7-3 lead and the teams shook hands to end the game early.

"We had some chances. We had our chances, especially in the eighth. We didn't take them, and against this team if you don't take your chances you lose," Retornaz stated.

On the women's side, Winnipeg's Jennifer Jones defeated the Russian Olympic Committee 11-5 on Monday to snap a three-game losing skid and improve to 2-3. Canada's next game is against Great Britain (3-2) on Monday at 7:05 a.m. ET.

WATCH | That Curling Show: Team Jennifer Jones isn't afraid of the uphill battle ahead

That Curling Show: Team Jennifer Jones isn't afraid of the uphill battle ahead

18 hours agoDuration 38:08Jennifer Jones has been here before and Gushue's path to Olympic glory in 2006 wasn't smooth either. These two past champions still have the ability to get on a roll.Canada's Jennifer Jones ends losing streak with much-needed win over ROC

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