TORONTO (by Jonathan Brazeau)— Team Gushue successfully retained the Stu Sells Toronto Tankard and this time actually won it with their skip in the lineup.
The St. John’s, N.L. club claimed the title a year ago without Brad Gushue, who was on the injured reserve due to a hip/groin issue. Third Mark Nichols moved up to the skip role with Adam Spencer subbing at vice duties (second [and P.E.I. native] Brett Gallant and lead Geoff Walker remained in their front-end positions).
With Gushue back in business this time, the reigning world champions went on another 6-0 run in the World Curling Tour men’s event capped with a 4-2 win over Team Maus in Monday night’s final at the High Park Club.
“It’s nice to actually win so the guys can’t hold it over my head that I haven’t won this one before,” Gushue said with a laugh. “It was a good week. We played well. We got some good breaks, I’m not going to lie. We had some timely misses from other teams, but any time you can get a win is good. It’s definitely something to build off of.”
It’s the third World Curling Tour title through four events for Gushue following the team’s victory at the Swiss Cup Basel overseas last weekend and the Tour Challenge Tier 1 at the start of September in Regina. Still, Gushue believes the team can improve from here, especially as they anticipate they’ll finally have ice soon back home in St. John’s.
A key stretch of the season is on the horizon for Team Gushue with two major Pinty’s Grand Slam of Curling tournaments coming up — the Masters in Lloydminster, Sask., and the Boost National in Sault Ste. Marie, Ont. — plus the Canadian Olympic Curling Trials fast approaching in December.
Meanwhile, Woodstock’s Team Tippin also posted a perfect record on the women’s side going 7-0 and wrapping things up with a 5-2 win over Team Cadorin of Thornhill in an all-Ontario final.
[PEI’s Robyn MacPhee team finished round robin play with a 2-2 win-loss record, just out of the playoffs.]
“Actually all today we’ve had really close games right down to the last rock of the extra ends,” said skip Julie Tippin, who is ranked 20th in the Order of Merit and holds a spot in the Olympic pre-trials [to be held in Summerside P.E.I.]. “All the teams are great here and we’re happy to get in such a good day of curling.”