Brad Gushue of St. John’s, N.L., needs just one more win to get closer to another Olympic experience.
The 2006 Olympic gold medallist came out hitting against Saskatoon’s Steve Laycock for a 5-3 win in the Page Playoff C-C game at the Capital One Road to the Roar Pre-Trials, presented by Monsanto, Sunday morning at the Memorial Auditorium in Kitchener, Ont.
With the win, Gushue earned another faceoff with Brad Jacobs of Sault Ste. Marie, Ont., in the last chance to qualify for the Tim Hortons Roar of the Rings Canadian Curling Trials, presented by Monsanto, Dec. 1-8 — the event that will decide Canada’s teams for the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi.
It has been a long road for Gushue: the second seed rattled off two wins early, then lost the A-Event final to Road to the Roar qualifier John Morris of Vernon/Kelowna, B.C. Battling back through the B-Event, Gushue lost the semifinal to Jacobs and had to win two more games before defeating Greg Balsdon of Elgin, Ont., in the C-Event finals and earn a spot in the Page C-C game.
Gushue and his team of Brett Gallant, Adam Casey, Geoff Walker and coach Peter Gallant shot 90 per cent as a team, and executed the big shots when needed.
“It felt great out there,” said Gushue. “I thought we played well. We really minimized our mistakes, which is something really burned us early on this week. We didn’t make any big ones, and the few mistakes that we did, we came back with great shots after.”
In the eighth, with a Laycock counter tucked behind a corner guard, Gushue made the runback double with his first, and then threw a precise pick forcing Laycock to hit for one and head into the final two ends trailing by two.
Trailing by one in the final end, Laycock split the house to set up a possible score of two, forcing Gushue to draw for one and put the win away.
“We’re playing our best curling the past two days, and hopefully it continues tonight,” Gushue said. “We just need one game, one great game, and we’ll be in Winnipeg. But unfortunately, we’re playing a real good team, and they’re playing well too. So we’re going to give it everything we have and hopefully come out on top.”
While disappointed, Laycock was also philosophical after the loss.
“We came in ranked fifth, and we finished fourth,” said Laycock, who was backed by Kirk Muyres, Colton Flasch, Dallan Muyres and coach Lyle Muyres. “Disappointing to lose out there, but they played a great game though. Brad make five or six doubles that were huge.”
Click here to see post-game interviews with Brad Gushue and Steve Laycock.
The Capital Road to the Roar continues on Saturday with a draw at 7 p.m. (all times EST). Playoff draws will be broadcast on Saturday and Sunday by TSN/RDS, the official broadcast partner of the Season of Champions. Go to https://www.curling.ca/championships/television-and-webcast-schedule/ for the schedule.
Live scoring, statistics and updated draw brackets are available at https://www.curling.ca/scoreboard/
The French version of this story will be available at https://www.curling.ca/2013roadtotheroar-fr/ as soon as possible.
To purchase tickets to the 2013 Capital One Road to the Roar, presented by Monsanto, go to https://www.curling.ca/2013roadtotheroar-en/tickets/
For ticket information about the 2013 Tim Hortons Roar of the Rings, presented by Monsanto, go to https://www.curling.ca/2013roaroftherings-en/tickets/