Gushue survives McEwen onslaught

Although Mike McEwen made what some people are calling the “shot of the year,” the Grand Slam of Curling’s Masters belonged to Brad Gushue of St. John’s.
Brad Gushue's St. John's team won the Grand Slam Masters on Sunday. (Photo, CCA/Michael Burns)

Brad Gushue’s St. John’s team won the Grand Slam Masters on Sunday. (Photo, CCA/Michael Burns)

After Gushue took four in the fifth, he was looking good to steal in the sixth end of the championship game. With a pile of rocks out front, and only one shot to go, Winnipeg’s McEwen made a double-runback-in-off-double takeout to score four of his own, and tie the game. Gushue, frustrated that he had “skipped his team into jail” in the sixth, rebounded with two points in the seventh, and made a nice double of his own to put the game away in the eighth. He, along with Mark Nichols, Brett Gallant, and Geoff Walker, took home $24,500 and a maximum 40 points on the Canadian Team Ranking System, moving them into third place. McEwen, currently leading the CTRS, gained 27 points for reaching the final, and took home $15,500. With Sault Ste. Marie, Ont.’s Brad Jacobs and Toronto’s John Epping reaching the semifinals, they were each awarded 22 points. Jacobs still sits second on the CTRS, while Epping moves into fourth. Where it gets interesting is on the World Curling Tour Order of Merit. While the CTRS is a ranking for this year’s Canadian teams, the WCT list is a two-year system featuring all teams, Canadian and international. Going into the season, Jacobs led McEwen, who sat in third place, by nearly 70 points. With McEwen’s red hot start to the season (four event wins, and one Grand Slam runner-up), he made up a huge gap, and now sits less than two points behind Jacobs for the world No. 1 ranking. If Jacobs hadn’t reached the semifinals, McEwen would have passed him already. The women’s final consisted of Edmonton’s Val Sweeting taking down Margaretha Sigfridsson of Sweden. Sweeting looked to have the game put away, when Sigfridsson made her own “shot of the year” nominee, playing an angle runback through a barely-there port to take two, and keep herself in the game. With the game on the line, Sigfridsson tried to draw to the button around a guard, but left enough open that Sweeting could follow her down, and make the take out for the win. For Sweeting, and teammates Cathy Overton-Clapham, Dana Ferguson and Rachelle Brown, the championship marked the end of an eventful week, which started with original teammate Andrea Crawford announcing she’d be leaving the team, after only a few events together. Sweeting recruited the veteran Overton-Clapham to fill in on short notice, and it appears the decision paid off. Sweeting also took home $24,500 and 40 CTRS points, moving her into third place behind Winnipeg’s Jennifer Jones and Ottawa’s Rachel Homan, both of whom reached the semifinals. Elsewhere…. Halifax’s Mike Flemming beat Charlottetown’s Adam Casey in the final of the Dave Jones Molson Mayflower Classic, earning $4,000. Casey took home $3,000 and 4.6 CTRS points, which drops him out of the top ten. On the women’s side, Mary-Anne Arsenault (Halifax) took down Kathry O’Rourke (Charlottetown) in the final. In Edmonton, the Shamrock Shotgun by DG Valve Systems final saw Mick Lizmore best Robert Schlender (both from Edmonton). Lizmore took more $3,200. The ladies’ final featured Edmonton’s Nicki Kaufman taking down Switzerland’s Michele Jäggi, also taking home a prize of $3,200.