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Dunstone gets back on track at Co-op Canadian Open with win over Retornaz

RED DEER, Alta. — Winnipeg’s Team Matt Dunstone bounced back into the win column at the Co-op Canadian Open after defeating Team Joël Retornaz of Italy 5-2 in Draw 10 Thursday at Servus Arena.

Dunstone regrouped from a frustrating 6-4 loss during the previous night to Calgary’s Team Kevin Koe to improve to a 2-1 round-robin record in the Grand Slam of Curling major tournament.

Team Dunstone curled 92 per cent while Team Retornaz, who dropped to a 1-2 record, shot 82 per cent.

“We got Koe’d last night, so to come out today backs against the wall, obviously that was a big one to stay in this, it feels great,” Dunstone said. “I love where the team is at. We’re doing a lot of really good things out there and hopefully, we can continue this.”

Team Dunstone also have Rob Gordon on the bench as he will serve as their alternate during the Montana’s Brier. Gordon won the Canadian junior title and world juniors bronze medal with Dunstone in 2016.

“He fits in with this team perfectly,” said Dunstone, who earned a pre-qualifier spot to the Brier. “He brings a great temperament mind for the game to the table. This is obviously our last event before the Brier, so we’re treating it like a trial run and he’s been a great fit. I love having him here and I’m proud to call him my best friend.” 

Dunstone secured the hammer to start and converted in the second end to score a deuce. Already sitting two near the button, Dunstone opted to throw his last rock away and not disrupt the cluster.

Retornaz, who has won three straight Grand Slam men’s titles, was forced to hit off of his own rock and bounce in to settle for a single in the third as Dunstone sat another tight pair of stones.

Although Dunstone was hoping his nifty multi-raise takeout in the fifth would score three, he had to accept two and extend the lead 4-1.

“That was a fun one,” Dunstone said. “Had a couple different options. When in doubt, play the one for the most amount of points. That’s what we went with there, got a little fortunate and unfortunate I guess on that one. A fun shot to be a part of.”

Team Retornaz’s struggles continued into the sixth end and they were forced to draw for just another single. Dunstone was looking to end things in the seventh with a chance for a double to score three but hit it square on the nose for only one.

Still, Dunstone was able to deliver the dagger shot in the eighth end to run Retornaz out of rocks.

“Any time you start with the hammer and get a deuce, that sets the tone for the entire game,” Dunstone said. “You get them chasing you right away and that’s what we had. We made some key shots to put a lot of pressure on them. I’m just proud of the guys for hanging in there. I missed a bad one in seven but made some down the stretch.”


Elsewhere in Draw 10, Team Danny Casper (1-2) of the United States held on for a 9-8 upset win over Calgary’s Team Kevin Koe (2-1).

Casper, the No. 16 seed, earned an invitation to the event after winning the HearingLife Tour Challenge Tier 2 in October.

It was a back-and-forth battle right from the start as Koe opened with a deuce in the first and Casper responded with a three-ender in the second. After Koe was limited to a single in the third to tie it, Casper scored four in the fourth and stole one in the fifth to build an 8-3 advantage.

Koe, who has won five Grand Slam titles as a skip, counted three in the sixth and stole two in the seventh to tie it up, but Casper held the hammer coming home and hit and stuck around for the winning point.

Scotland’s Team Bruce Mouat doubled up on Team Korey Dropkin of the United States 6-3 to clinch a playoff spot with a 3-0 record. Dropkin dropped to a 1-2 record.

Sweden’s Team Niklas Edin got their first win of the week with a 7-3 victory over Scotland’s Team James Craik. Both teams hold 1-2 records.


The Co-op Canadian Open continues with Draw 11 at 6 p.m. ET / 4 p.m. MT. Watch on Sportsnet West and Sportsnet ONE with online streaming available via Sportsnet+ (Canada) and (international).


The Co-op Canadian Open is the fourth event of the Grand Slam of Curling season featuring 16 of the top men’s teams and 16 of the top women’s teams from around the world. … Round-robin play runs through to Friday evening with the best eight teams in both divisions advancing to Saturday’s quarterfinals. If necessary, a tiebreaker round will be played Saturday morning to determine the final playoff berths. … The semifinals are also on tap Saturday with both finals scheduled for Sunday.