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Brier Bound: Newfoundland and Labrador Update

Brad Gushue went undefeated in capturing the 2012 Newfoundland and Labrador Tankard in playdowns which ran from February 8 – 11 at the Carol Curling Club in Labrador City.

He and his Bally Haly Curling Club team of Ryan Fry, Adam Casey and Geoff Walker received a bye to the championship’s final game after finishing atop the six team round-robin leaderboard. In that final, they led 4-2 after five ends and 6-3 after eight, before closing things out with a steal of 3 in the ninth for a 9-3 victory over Ken Peddigrew and his St. John’s Curling Club mates David Noftall, Jeff Rose and Keith Jewar.

Brad Gushue returns to the 2012 Tim Hortons Brier (Photo Michael Burns)

The Peddigrew rink finished the round-robin with a record of 3-2, one game back of Keith Ryan and his Carol Curling Club team of Barry Edwards, Mike Ryan and Dennis Langdon. These two teams squared off in a low-scoring Friday night semi-final game, which was eventually decided when Peddigrew added to his one-rock lead by stealing another in the tenth end for a 5-3 victory.

Gushue, who skipped Canada to a World Junior Curling Championship in 2001, is most renowned for recruiting Russ Howard to his men’s team and engineering a run to Olympic gold at the 2006 Turin Games. Since then he has shuffled his team personnel with some regularity, yet always manages to ice a competitive foursome at the Brier. An All Star skip at the 2004 shootout, Gushue’s best finish was in Hamilton in 2007 where he placed second to Ontario’s Glenn Howard, losing the final 10-6. Last year in London, Gushue finished tied atop the standings after round-robin play with a record of 9-2, before losing the Page 1 vs 2 game to Manitoba and the semi-final game to Ontario. In the Brier’s first-ever bronze medal game, the boys from St. John’s prevailed and downed Kevin Martin’s Alberta side by a score of 10-5.

The 2012 Tim Hortons Brier will mark Gushue’s ninth appearance at the Canadian men’s curling championships, while third-man Fry will be making his fifth trip, and front-enders Casey and Walker will be rookies to the proceedings.