(Final) Playing with three, Mark Nicholls having tested Covid-positive, Brad Gushue and his wild card team from Newfoundland-Labrador completed an impressive playoff run at the Tim Hortons Brier in Lethbridge with an x win over Kevin Koe (Alberta).

Gushue scored a pair of three in a game which went an extra end. In the 11th end, Gushue faced two but made no mistake with his out-turn hit for victory.

Earlier in the day, Team Gushue had defeated Team Canada (Brendan Bottcher) 9-3 in the semi-final. They had also scored a pair of threes in that game.

It was the fourth Brier victory for Gushue, whose team will now represent Canada at the Worlds in Las Vegas.

(Saturday 10PM) KOE TO BRIER FINAL; GUSHUE-BOTTCHER SEMIFINAL: A Saturday 9-7 victory over Team Canada’s Brendan Bottcher advanced Alberta (Kevin Koe) to the Sunday eveing final of the Tim Hortons Brier in Lethbridge.

The loss dropped Bottcher to the semi-final Sunday afternoon against Brad Gushue and his Wild Card team. Team Gushue defeated Colton Flasch 7-2 in their playoff game to eliminate Team Saskatchewan.

(Friday 10PM) BRIER ENDS FOR MCEWEN, GUNNLAUGSON: Jason Gunnlaugson’s Brier lasted one game longer than Mike McEwen’s. Gunnlaugson’s Wild Card team ousted McEwen’s Team Manitoba with a 9-3 tiebreaker win on the early draw Friday but then lost to Brendan Bottcher’s Team Canada (7-3) on the afternoon draw.

In the other tiebreaker, Colton Flasch beat Matt Dunstone (9-5) but then went on to beat Brad Jacobs 10-3.

Brad Gushue and Kevin Koe has earned playoff byes as the pool winners. Bottcher advances to play Gushue with Flasch taking on Koe on the late draw. The winners advanced to play on the top side of the Page Playoff draw (winner to the final, loser to the semi-final) while the losers go to the bottom side of the Page Playoff draw (loser eliminated, winner to the semi-final).

Bottcher was the first to advance. Tied 3-3 coming home, his last rock draw was swept end-to-end and into the top of the eight foot circle for victory. Koe advanced moments later. He had Flasch in trouble much of the game and scored a three on end nine, for a 7-2 win, when Flasch played a desperation angle raise takeout for a ‘hoped-for’ deuce and a tie.

The Koe-Bottcher top side game and Gushue-Flasch bottom side games will be played Saturday.

Manitoba: (l-r) McEwen-Carruthers-Samagalski-Lott Back-Meakin-Doering (Curling Canada/Mike Burns Photo)

(Thursday 10PM Update) MCEWEN -GUNNLAUGSON TIEBREAKER FRIDAY MORNING: Mike McEwen will play Jason Gunnlaugson in a tiebreaker game Friday morning at the Time Hortons Brier in Lethbridge.

With a 5W-3L record, Gunnlaugson and his Wild Card team had the last round bye Thursday evening and had to wait for a McEwen loss to Quebec to know they still had life in the playoff chase.

Leading 6-5 playing the ninth end, McEwen attempted a kill attempt facing three but rubbed his own rock in the top of the rings. Quebec drew for a four and 9-6 lead coming home. McEwen and Gunnlaugson both finish with 5W-3L records and a morning tiebreaker game with the winner advancing to the playoffs.

Wild Card #3: (l-r) Gunnlaugson-Casey-Wozniak-Njegovan Back-Gordon (Curling Canada/Mike Burns Photo)

In the other pool, the same fate befell former Manitoba Junior champion Matt Dunstone. A last draw loss to Colton Flasch means both teams finish with 5W-3L records and they will meet Friday morning in a tiebreaker.

In the McEwen-Gunnlaugson pool, Brad Gushue finished with a perfect 8W-0L record while Brad Jacobs, at 6W-2L, is second in the group.

In the Dunstone-Flasch pool, Kevin Koe and Brendan Bottcher both finished with 7W-1L records. Koe is awarded first place after beating Bottcher in the round robin.

(Thursday 1PM Update) MCEWEN A WIN AWAY FROM BRIER PLAYOFFS: A morning win by Mike McEwen and Team Manitoba (7-3 over Northwest Territories) has them a win away from the playoff round at the Tim Hortons Brier in Lethbridge.

A 5W-2L record means an evening victory over Quebec will assure Team Manitoba of a playoff berth. A loss will drop them back into a tie with Jason Gunnlaugson’s Wild Card team. Team Gunnlaugson has finished their round robin at 5W-3L with an extra end loss on the morning draw to Brad Gushue.

Gunnlaugson scored a single point on a final end measure of two rocks with about 2 inches of the pinhole but left Gushue an angle bump to remove shot rock and win with his last rock coming home.

Now at 7W-0L, Team Gushue has wrapped up first place in the pool. Brad Jacobs, at 5W-2L, is tied with McEwen. He plays Nova Scotia (3W-4L) on the late draw today and a win also guarantees his Northern Ontario team a playoff spot while a loss drops them into the 5W-3L tie for third scenario.

Also with a chance, BC’s Brent Pierce is at 4W-3L and a must-win late game against Gushue to move into the 5W-3L tie for third discussion.

(Thursday, March 10: 9:00AM) GUNNLAUGSON, MCEWEN IN PLAYOFF CHASE AT THE BRIER: Wins Wednesday by both Mike McEwen’s Team Manitoba and Jason Gunnlaugson’s Manitoba Wild Card team kept both teams on two losses and firmly in the playoff chase at the Tim Hortons Brier in Lethbridge.

Gunnlaugson’s 10-1 victory over Nunavut was to be expected but his 5W-2L record with a game to play has not yet put a lock on a playoff berth. A win in his final game, this morning against unbeaten Brad Gushue, would at best bring the Wild Card team into a playoff berth tie. A loss would mean a 5W-3L record and may not be good enough.

That would depend on results for Team Manitoba in two games today. After an important win yesterday over Brad Jacobs, McEwen’s 4W-2L record demands two victories today. He must win games over Northwest Territories and Quebec to finish 6W-2L.

If both McEwen and Gunnlaugson finish 5W-3L, the early win by Gunnlaugson over McEwen will be a deciding factor.

Brad Jacobs last game, this evening against Nova Scotia, will also com into play. At 5W-2L, Jacobs also needs a win to avoid the tie for the third playoff spot.

In the other pool, Kevin Koe, Brendan Bottcher, and Matt Dunstone all have 6W-1L records. Colton Flasch is at 5W-2L. In a Saskatchewan final game re-match Dunstone plays Flasch on the afternoon draw today.

(Wednesday, March 9: 8:00AM) GUNNLAUGSON, MCEWEN BOTH WITH TWO LOSSES AFTER TUESDAY PLAY: A pair of wins Tuesday for the Wild Card Jason Gunnlaugson team and a split for Mike McEwen’s Team Manitoba have both team sitting on a pair of losses and a need to not lose another game if they are to have a realistic chance of reaching the Tim Hortons Brier playoff round.

McEwen split with the two teams who were undefeated starting play Tuesday: a 7-4 win over Paul Flemming (NS) and a 9-6 loss to still unbeaten Brad Gushue (NFLab Wild Card). Gunnlaugson beat Brent Pierce (BC) 9-4 and Jamie Koe (Northwest Territories) 6-3.

In today’s afternoon games, McEwen takes on Brad Jacobs (NOnt) while Gunnlaugson plays winless Nunavut.

Team Gunnlaugson is likely to improve to five wins while McEwen faces a must-win game against Jacobs to avoid falling to three losses.

With five wins, Gunnlaugson would be in ‘good shape’. Even with a loss in their last game to Gushue, a record of 5W-3L would place them ahead of McEwen (if McEwen finishes with three losses) as they won the game against Team Manitoba.

After starting undefeated, Flemming lost two yesterday and still faces games against Gushue and Jacobs so will need at least a split to stay at three losses. Flemming beat Gunnlaugson but lost to McEwen, so if all three are at three losses when the round ends – the tie would be based on the draw-to-button tally.

The top team in each pool gets a playoff bye while there is a pools crossover #2 vs #3 game to determine the other two teams in a page playoff round.

(TUESDAY MORNING UPDATE) MCEWEN FACES UNBEATENS TUESDAY, AN EASIER DAY FOR GUNNLAUGSON: Mike McEwen’s Team Manitoba and the Wild Card Jason Gunnlaugson team both posted wins on the morning draw. Gunnlaugson was a 9-4, 8-end winner over Brent Pierce (BC) and improves to 3W-2L. McEwen broke open a tight game with a three on the eighth end and went on to a 7-4 win over previously unbeaten Paul Flemming (NS).

Northern Ontario’s Brad Jacobs won (8-3 over Northwest Territories) and has a 4W-1L record, tied in the win column with 4W-0L Wild Card Brad Gushue, who did not play on the morning draw.

(Tuesday, March 8: 9AM) Coming off a Monday blow-out win over Nunavut, Mike McEwen’s Team Manitoba plays the two undefeated teams in their group today at the Tim Hortons Brier in Lethbridge. Manitoba’s 2W-1L record demands at least a split of today’s game if they are to have a real chance of making the playoff round.

They open play today, on the morning draw, against Nova Scotia’s Paul Flemming (3W-0L). On the late draw they meet the Newfoundland-Labrador Wild Card Brad Gushue team (4W-0L). Today’s opponents lead the group with Northern Ontario’s Brad Jacobs at 3W-1L.

Jason Gunnlaugson’s Wild Card Manitoba team lost a 7-6 extra end game to Flemming in their only game Monday. Tied 3-3 with hammer playing the sixth end, Gunnlaugson was unable to capitalize. Forced to a single on the seventh, they gave up a deuce on end #8 and a steal on the ninth. A near-miss raise double kill attempt left them the tie on the home end but Flemming only needed to make a draw to the eight foot for the extra end win.

In the other pool, former Manitoba junior champion Matt Dunstone and his Wild Card Saskatchewan team lead the way at 5W-0L while Brendan Bottcher and Team Canada are at 4W-0L.

(Monday, March 7) GUNNLAUGSON WINS TWO SUNDAY AT THE BRIER: Jason Gunnlaugson and his wild card Manitoba team, coming off a morning win Sunday over Mike McEwen, returned to the ice on the late draw in Lethbridge .

The team representing the Morris Curling Club controlled the game with Mike Fournier (Quebec) scoring four deuces to lead 8-7 coming home. Another single gave them a 9-7 victory for their second win of the day.

Gunnlaugson shares a 2W-1L record with Brad Jacobs (NOnt) who lost to Brad Gushue (WC-NFLab). Paul Flemming (NS) is 2W-0L and Gushue is 3W-0L after Sunday’s play. Mike McEwen’s Team Manitoba had a late-Sunday bye.

In the other pool, starting play Monday, Kevin Koe (AB) and Matt Dunstone (WC-SK) lead the way at 3W-0L while Brenda Bottcher (Team Canada) is 2W-0L.

On the afternoon draw, Gunnlaugson plays Flemming. McEwen plays winless Nunavut.

(Noon, Sunday, March 6) GUNNLAUGSON WINS MANITOBA MATCH-UP AT THE BRIER: Mike McEwen’s Team Manitoba met the Manitoba Wild Card team skipped by Jason Gunnlaugson on the Sunday morning draw at the Tim Hortons Brier in Lethbridge.

McEwen was coming off an opening round win (10-3 over Brent Pierce, BC) while Gunnlaugson had lost the opener Saturday, 6-3 to Brad Jacobs, NONT).

They’re now both at 1W-1L after a 10-6, nine end victory for Team Gunnlaugson.

Team McEwen is playing without their regular lead Colin Hodgson, who had been doubtful after the Viterra Championship due to a leg injury and who also has had a recent Covid diagnosis. Colton Lott has replaced Hodgson at lead while Lott’s teammate Kyle Doering has joined the team as the ‘alternate’.

Another of Manitoba’s fine young curlers, Rob Gordon, is also at the Brier – as the ‘alternate’ for Team Gunnlaugson.

Brad Jacobs (NONT) and Brad Gushue, this time qualified as a wild card team, lead the group with 2W-0L records.

The other group is led by three teams Brendan Bottcher (Canada), Kevin Koe (Alberta) and the third wild card team skipped by Matt Dunstone, also with 2W-0L records.

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