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Canada’s Brad Gushue posted a pair of wins Tuesday to kick off a busy stretch for his St. John’s-based team at the world men’s curling championship.

Gushue posted a 7-4 victory over New Zealand’s Anton Hood in the morning draw at the IWC Arena and then dumped American John Shuster 8-2 in the evening session.

It was the first of four straight two-game days for the Canadian side of Gushue, Mark Nichols, E.J. Harnden and Geoff Walker.

Canada was in sole possession of second place at 5-1 behind six-time champion Niklas Edin of Sweden (6-0), who beat New Zealand 11-7 in the afternoon draw. The top six teams in the 13-team field will make the playoffs and the top two seeds will earn direct semi-final berths.

“We’re in a good place right now but we still have to finish, there’s six games left,” Gushue said. “If we really want one of those top two spots you probably have to win five of those six and there’s still some really good teams left.

“We’ll chip away [to] make sure we get a playoff spot and eventually once we do that we’ll start honing in on one of those top two places.”

After 11 draws of round-robin play, Germany’s Marc Muskatewitz was alone in third place at 5-2 after posting a 6-4 win over Czechia’s Lukas Klima.

Italy’s Joël Retornaz and defending champion Bruce Mouat of Scotland, both idle in the afternoon, were 4-2 with Switzerland’s Yannick Schwaller, a 9-7 winner over South Korea’s Jongduk Park. The United States fell to 4-3.

In Canada’s opening game, the teams traded singles over the first four ends. Gushue stole a point in the fifth and took control of the game with two more stolen points in the sixth end.

“Anton made some really good shots in the second and fourth ends to take away multiple-point ends for us,” Gushue said. “Both were really good shots. I still had a chance in the fourth end and didn’t execute it well, but he made two great shots to keep it close.”

Gushue won gold in his first world championship appearance in 2017 at Edmonton. It was the last time Canada reached the top of the podium at this competition.

The 2006 Olympic champion has taken world silver on three occasions since, including last year in Ottawa. Gushue’s win Tuesday morning improved his all-time mark at the world championship to 50-11.

“When you hear it’s 50, it means you’ve been here a lot and it means you’ve won a lot,” Gushue said. “Fifty is a lot of games, so we’ve done something right. At the end of the day, we want to win on Sunday instead of focusing on 50 today.”

In the evening, Gushue opened with a three-ender and pulled away with three stolen points in the fifth end. Canadian alternate Kyle Doering replaced Harnden in the sixth end and the Americans conceded after scoring a single.

“I’ve still got to pinch myself that I’m here,” Doering said. “I’m having a blast.”

In the other late game, Japan’s Shinya Abe beat Norway’s Magnus Ramsfjell 7-4. Round-robin play continues through Friday night and medal games are scheduled for Sunday.

Canada’s Rachel Homan won gold at the recent world women’s curling championship in Sydney, N.S. It was Canada’s first title at the event since Jennifer Jones was victorious in 2018 at North Bay.

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