ESTEVAN, Sask. – Brad Gushue is in while Kevin Koe and Brendan Bottcher will play a tiebreaker Saturday morning to determine the last playoff team after the final round-robin men’s draw at the Home Hardware Canada Cup at Affinity Place in Estevan, Sask.
Gushue (St. John’s, N.L.) scored a crucial 11-6 win over Koe (Calgary) Friday evening while Bottcher (Edmonton) scored a last-rock 7-6 win over Brad Jacobs (Sault Ste. Marie, Ont.). Those results left Jacobs in first place at 6-1 and moving directly to Sunday’s final. Koe, Gushue and Bottcher all finished at 4-2, with the draw to the button measurements sending Gushue onwards and putting the other two in the tiebreaker.
“We didn’t play very well against them today and that was our only bad game of the week,” Bottcher said of his 10-3 loss to Koe in the Friday morning draw. “So we’re looking forward to coming out and playing again like we did tonight and hopefully give them a good run in the morning.”
Bottcher, supported by vice-skip Darren Moulding, second Brad Thiessen and lead Karrick Martin, made a pressure-packed, last-rock double to score two and take the critical win.
“It was three-quarters open and I just had to hit it,” he said casually. “For me it should be a pretty makeable shot, but to get to the playoffs at the Canada Cup there’s a little bit more on the line. So just took an extra second in the hack and made sure I nailed it.”
Gushue, vice-skip Mark Nichols, second Brett Gallant, lead Geoff Walker and coach Jules Owchar, knew they were fighting for their playoff lives and they played like it. They scored four in the second end, two in each of the fourth, sixth and ninth ends to wrap up the needed win.
“We’re in the semifinals, which is good. The three-way tie … we all beat each other, and we had the best shootout so fortunately we advance right to the semifinal, which is nice,” Gushue said after his win.
“After our loss (Thursday) it looked like we were going to have to fight our way through tiebreakers if today didn’t go as well as it did. But it went perfect and we got right to the semi so we’re pretty excited about it.”
In the other men’s game, John Epping of Toronto (3-3) beat Matt Dunstone of Regina (1-5) 7-5.
In two women’s matches Laura Walker of Edmonton (2-4) beat Chelsea Carey of Calgary (2-4) 9-8 in an extra end and in a battle of two Winnipeg teams, Allison Flaxey (2-4) beat Darcy Robertson (1-5) 9-6.
The 2018 Home Hardware Canada Cup round-robin wraps up Saturday with the final women’s draw at 9 a.m. CST. The men’s semifinal goes at 2 p.m. followed by the women’s at 7 p.m. Sunday’s finals will see the women play at 2 p.m. and the men at 7 p.m.
TSN/TSN2 and RDS2 will provide complete coverage of the Hardware Canada Cup. CLICK HERE for the complete schedule.
The Home Hardware Canada Cup format calls for the men’s and women’s teams to play a three-day round robin, with the first-place teams advancing to their respective finals on Sunday, while the second- and third-place teams meet in semifinals on Saturday, after any required tiebreakers, to determine the other finalists.
For ticket information, as well as team lineups and the full event draw for the 2018 Home Hardware Canada Cup, go to www.curling.ca/2018canadacup/
The French version of this story will be posted as soon as possible at www.curling.ca/?lang=fr