Opening Playoffs draw recap:
KINGSTON, Ont. – The key to success in curling is to score two and force your opponent to take one, and that scenario worked perfectly Thursday afternoon for Brad Gushue and Team Newfoundland/Labrador at the Tim Hortons Brier, presented by AGI.
In a matchup of former champions, Gushue posted three deuces while holding Kevin Koe and Team Canada to just one two-ender in a 7-4 victory that moved Newfoundland/Labrador (St. John’s) to 7-1 in the Championship Pool.
Team Newfoundland/Labrador skip Brad Gushue salutes the crowd after his team’s win over Team Canada on Thursday afternoon (Photo, Curling Canada/Michael Burns)
“It’s a great field and we’ve played some tough teams so to be 7-1 is awesome,” said Gushue, the 2017 and 2018 winner with teammates Mark Nichols at third, Brett Gallant at second, Geoff Walker at lead, alternate Jeff Thomas and coach Jules Owchar. “We’re in a good position, but we still have work to do, I don’t think 7-4 is going to get straight in so we have to find another win to get into the playoffs and probably another two or three wins to get to the 1-2 game.
“I’ve played in a few more of these than most people,” he continued. “I’ve seen 7-4 get in on several occasions. It’s been a long time, but it could happen this week. We’ve been 7-4 and gotten straight into the playoffs, we’ve been 7-4 and got in tiebreaker and 7-4 missed the playoffs. You certainly want to get to eight wins or more.”
In the three other games in the opening draw of the Championship Pool, Brendan Bottcher of Alberta (Edmonton) ran his perfect record to 8-0 with a 9-5 win over Matt Dunstone of Saskatchewan (Regina, 6-2); John Epping of Ontario (Toronto, 5-3) cracked a four-ender in the fourth and went on to beat Jason Gunnlaugson of Manitoba (Morris, 5-3); and Brad Jacobs of Northern Ontario (Sault Ste. Marie, 5-3) nipped Mike McEwen and Team Wild Card (West St. Paul, Man., 6-2) 6-4.
Evening Draw recap
KINGSTON, Ont. – Multiple scoring ends have dominated many games at the Tim Hortons Brier, presented by AGI, and it was a four-ender on Thursday evening that powered Brad Jacobs and Team Northern Ontario to another life-saving victory.
The Sault Ste. Marie (6-3) foursome was one of three teams that went into the evening draw at Leon’s Centre at 5-3 that scored desperately needed wins to avoid putting themselves on the edge of the cliff with just two draws remaining in the Championship Pool.
Jacobs scored four in the sixth end to beat Matt Dunstone of Saskatchewan (Regina, 6-3) 7-4; John Epping of Ontario (Toronto 6-3) scored three in the second end and went on to beat Brad Gushue of Newfoundland & Labrador (St. John’s, 7-2) 8-4, while Kevin Koe and Team Canada (Calgary, 6-3) got a huge break in the 10th end by only allowing one point and scored in the extra end to nip previously unbeaten Brendan Bottcher of Alberta (Edmonton, 8-1) 5-4.
The one three-loss team that failed to win was Jason Gunnlaugson of Manitoba (Morris, 5-4) who fell 5-4 to Mike McEwen and Team Wild Card (West St. Paul, Man., 7-2).