Champs sweat out another win!
Team Canada pushed to the limit again at Tim Hortons Brier
Brad Gushue is feeling the wear and tear. The skip of Team Canada, who has played so many games over so many years, was looking for a little breather at the 2023 Tim Hortons Brier, presented by AGI, to keep his tongue from slapping against his knees.
He didn’t get it — again — at Budweiser Gardens.
Pushed to the limit in so many games at the start of the Tim Hortons Brier, Team Gushue was able to complete a two-win day, but nothing came easy in dispatching skip Tyler Smith’s Team Prince Edward Island (2-3, Crapaud) 8-6 in one of two Pool B games scheduled on the late shift.
The win lifted the defending champions and his retooled lineup from the RE/MAX Centre in St. John’s, N/L. — third Mark Nichols, second E.J. Harnden, lead Geoff Walker and coach Caleb Flaxey — to a 4-1 record, second in the pool standings, but they’ve paid the price in sweat, as they have all week.
“We haven’t had any easy ones but we’re not making it easy on ourselves,” said Gushue, who has had to work for everything he’s got this week. “We’re throwing shots where we get nothing out of it and letting the other team off the hook.
“We’re having shots we’re missing by a significant amount. It may be a focus issue. We have a big game tomorrow and hopefully we’ll be sharp for that.”
The Islanders fought the defending champs tooth and nail from the start and looked to have something brewing after scoring three in the seventh end to grab a 5-4 lead.
But Gushue, sensing impending doom, pulled his socks up. The defending champs took two in the eighth, forced Smith to make an up-weight double just to get one in end nine, then wrapped up matters with two in the 10th.
Still, it wasn’t vintage Team Gushue.
The skipper says his team is not tired.
“No, I don’t think we’re tired. I just thing we’re old,” he laughed. “So maybe that leads to tired. We’re just not sharp right now.”
Team Canada may not have looked like its dominating self this week, but the team is still winning.
“To be 4-1 with the way we’re playing, yeah we’re happy,” said Gushue. “Ideally you’d like to be 5-0. We have to be satisfied.”
Skip Jacques Gauthier’s Team British Columbia (1-3, Victoria), meanwhile, finally hit the win column in another Pool B game. In a battle of former Canadian junior hotshots, Team Gauthier tripped up Team Wild Card #3 skipped by Karsten Surmay (2-2, St. Albert, Alta.).
The sounds of the moose calls got louder Monday as Team Northern Ontario (4-1, Sudbury) skipped by Tanner Horgan kept creeping up the standings in Pool A, moving right behind leader Team Alberta skipped by Kevin Koe (4-0, Calgary). Tanner and Co. looked sharp in slapping aside Jamie Koe’s Team Northwest Territories (0-4, Yellowknife) 10-6.
In the other Pool A game, Team Saskatchewan (2-2, Regina) skipped by Kelly Knapp stayed in the hunt for a playoff berth after posting a 9-3 win over Team Nunavut (1-4, Iqaluit) skipped by skip Jake Higgs. The flatlanders from Saskatchewan scored threes in the first and third ends and then cruised to victory.
The 18 Tim Hortons Brier teams are split into two pools of nine, and will play a complete eight-game round robin. The top three teams in each pool advance to the playoffs where it will be further reduced to a Final Four and a Page playoff system.
The final goes Sunday, March 12.
The Tim Hortons Brier champion will wear the Maple Leaf at the 2023 BKT Tires & OK Tire World Men’s Curling Championship, April 1-9 in Ottawa.
The 2023 Tim Hortons Brier continues with draws Tuesday with draws at 2 p.m. and 7 p.m. (all times ET).
Live scoring, standings and statistics for the 2023 Tim Hortons Brier are available at curling.ca/scoreboard.
TSN and RDS2 will provide complete coverage of the 2023 Tim Hortons Brier. CLICK HERE for the complete schedule.
For ticket information for the 2023 Tim Hortons Brier, go to www.curling.ca/2023brier/tickets/
This story will be available in French as soon as possible at www.curling.ca/2023brier/nouvelles/?lang=fr