Gushue, with PEI native Gallant, books spot in Brier Page Playoff 1 vs. 2 game (TSN)

ST. JOHN’S, N.L. (The Canadian Press) — The pre-tournament favourites are playing like contenders this week at the Tim Hortons Brier.

Newfoundland and Labrador skip Brad Gushue directs the sweep against Ontario at the Brier on Thursday.  (ANDREW VAUGHAN / THE CANADIAN PRESS)  

The round robin has essentially gone as expected at Mile One Centre with top skips like Brad Gushue, Kevin Koe, Mike McEwen and Brad Jacobs battling for position near the top of the leaderboard.

Jean-Michel Menard and John Morris were also in the playoff hunt heading into the final draw Friday morning.

“I think that’s the way Canadian men’s curling is,” McEwen said. “You’ve got about a half dozen teams and if you run this over and over and over again, you might get six different winners depending on the week.”

No playoff matchups had been set after Thursday night’s games.

Gushue won twice on the day to give Newfoundland and Labrador (8-2) a spot in the [Friday at 7:30 pm Atlantic] Page playoff 1-2 game. Several scenarios are still in play and seedings are still up in the air for all four playoff spots.

If tiebreakers are needed, they will be played Friday afternoon.

Gushue thrilled near-capacity crowds with clutch draws for a pair of victories. He beat Ontario’s Glenn Howard 8-7 in an extra end in the afternoon before topping Koe 7-6 in similar fashion in the evening.

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