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Manitoba only unbeaten team left at Tim Hortons Brier

ST. JOHN’S — And then there was one. Mike McEwen of Manitoba is the only unbeaten team after Day 3 at the Tim Hortons Brier.

The Winnipeg foursome defeated Brendan Bottcher of Alberta (1-4; Edmonton) 10-6 to run their record to 4-0. One sheet over John Morris of British Columbia (3-2; Vernon-Kelowna) knocked off Kevin Koe and Team Canada (3-1; Calgary) 5-4.

“Right now we’re in a good head space,” McEwen said after he, third B.J. Neufeld, second Matt Wozniak, lead Denni Neufeld and coach Chris Neufeld scored deuces in the second, fifth and seventh ends and then a big four in nine to end things.

B.C. skip John Morris calls instructions to teammate Rick Sawatsky during Monday night’s win over Team Canada. (Photo, Curling Canada/Michael Burns)

“I knew he was going to gamble pretty hard in the ninth end, he’s looking for a force,” said McEwen. “I felt we might get an opportunity where we could get a multiple score.”
That came when Bottcher was just narrow on his first rock try for a double.

“We decided to put the game on the line,” said McEwen. “We could have ripped the guard played it safe, he might make the double and we go to the 10th end.”

Instead he made a long runback kill that led to his four.

“Tied without (hammer) playing nine you have to play the force hard,” said Bottcher. “You give him the easy blank and he just wins in 10. We went for it. We missed a couple of half shots and then I had a pick on my first one.”

One sheet over Morris, third Jim Cotter, who throws last rock, second Tyrel Griffith, lead Rick Sawatsky, alternate David Harper and coach Jody Epp were disbanding Team Canada.

B.C. opened with a deuce, got another two in the fourth after Canada had back-to-back singles to pull even, then stole one in seven that ultimately was the difference.

“We bounced back real strong today,” Morris said of the team that went into the day at 1-2. “A big one tonight. We lose that one and we’re in a pretty big hole. All four of us, especially Jimmy are throwing real well right now.”

Meantime, hometown hero Brad Gushue and his St. John’s foursome improved to 3-1 with a 10-6 victory over Adam Casey of Saskatchewan (2-3; Regina).

Brad Jacobs of Northern Ontario (4-1; Sault Ste. Marie) knocked off Glenn Howard of Ontario (1-4; Etobicoke) for his second win of the day.

Quebec’s Jean-Michel Ménard (2-2; Lévis), Jamie Murphy of Nova Scotia (2-2; Halifax), New Brunswick’s Mike Kennedy (1-3; Moncton) and Jamie Koe of Northwest Territories (0-4; Yellowknife) and) all had byes.

Today’s draws go at 10 a.m, 3 p.m. and 8 p.m. (all times NST).

For ticket and other event information, http://www.curling.ca/2017brier/

For the complete schedule, go to http://www.curling.ca/2017brier/draw/

This story will be posted in French as soon as possible at http://www.curling.ca/2017brier/?lang=fr