Extra time!

Team Wild Card #1 skip Brad Gushue directs his teammates during Thursday night action. (Photo, Curling Canada/Michael Burns)

Tiebreaker needed to settle Pool B playoff spot in Tim Hortons Brier

Seven days, 18 draws, 72 games and hundreds of thrown rocks later and it will take a pair of tiebreaker games Friday morning to determine the final playoff teams at the Tim Hortons Brier, presented by AGI. 

Playing in front of another engaged crowd in Lethbridge’s ENMAX Centre, Mike McEwen’s Team Manitoba (5-3, West St. Paul) gave up four in the ninth end to lose 9-6 to Team Quebec (4-4, Dollard-des-Ormeaus) and miss a chance to clinch a playoff berth. 

“Little disappointing, to have a bad game, but at least it didn’t knock us out,” McEwen, who shot a game-low 64 per cent, said after the loss. “We’re veterans, we’ll bounce back.” 

Instead of moving into the Page playoffs, Team Manitoba will now play Jason Gunnlaugson and Team Wild Card #3 from Morris, Man., in an all-Manitoba tiebreaker Friday morning at 8:30 (all times MT).

It will be played alongside the Pool A tiebreaker game between Saskatchewan’s Colton Flasch (5-3, Saskatoon) and Team Wild Card #2’s Matt Dunstone (5-3; Regina). The winners move on to the playoffs; the losers go home.

McEwen wrecked on one of his own stones on his final shot in the ninth end, leaving Team Quebec skip Mike Fournier an open draw for four. 

“We had a great set up and they made three really great shots,” McEwen said of the pivotal end. “A really tough one on my last one. I thought I threw it close enough to make it, I don’t know what happened… but they put a ton of pressure on us. I would have liked to have drawn but unfortunately they had too many angles on us.” 

Team Northern Ontario (6-2 Sault Ste. Marie), skipped by Brad Jacobs, defeated Team Nova Scotia (3-5, Halifax) 10-2 in eight ends to earn their playoff berth. Brad Gushue and Team Wild Card #1 (8-0, St. John’s) who had locked up the top seed in the pool and a first-round playoff bye earlier in the day, beat Team British Columbia (4-4, New Westminster) 8-7. 

“We’re really happy to get that final round-robin win,” said Jacobs. “We’re into the championship round, that was the main goal … make sure we got into the championship round and avoid the tiebreaker and being able to sleep in tomorrow is really beneficial.” 

Young fans were enjoying themselves Thursday at the Tim Hortons Brier. (Photo, Curling Canada/Michael Burns)

Having to win their final round-robin game to get to the playoffs came as no real surprise to Jacobs, the 2014 Olympic gold medallist.  

“These things always seem to come down to the wire. We had a really deep pool … we were fighting for our lives tonight. It was a really good challenge for us. We came out and played one of our best games of the week. Obviously we got some misses from Nova Scotia and we took advantage of those.” 

In the other game Jamie Koe and Team Northwest Territories (1-7, Yellowknife) scored its first win, 11-4 over Team Nunavut (0-8, Iqaluit).  

The 18 teams were split into two pools of nine for an eight-game round robin with the top three teams in each pool advancing to the playoffs. 

The final goes Sunday, March 13. 

There will be playoff draws Friday at 12:30 p.m. and 6:30 p.m.

The Manitoba-Wild Card #3 winner will play Team Canada’s Brendan Bottcher (7-1, Edmonton) at 12:30 p.m., while the Saskatchewan-Wild Card #2 winner plays Northern Ontario at 12:30.

Live scoring, standings and statistics for the 2022 Tim Hortons Brier are available at curling.ca/scoreboard.

TSN and RDS2 (streamed on ESPN3 in the United States) will provide complete coverage of the 2022 Tim Hortons Brier. CLICK HERE for the complete schedule.

For ticket information for the 2022 Tim Hortons Brier, go to www.curling.ca/2022brier/tickets/

This story will be available in French as soon as possible at www.curling.ca/2022brier/nouvelles/?lang=fr