Gushue beats Dunstone to remain unbeaten at Canadian Olympic Curling Trials

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Brad Gushue picked up a victory Wednesday morning to move closer to a playoff berth at the Canadian Olympic Curling Trials while Brendan Bottcher’s team were all but eliminated after suffering a fourth loss.

Gushue remained undefeated at 5-0 after winning a 9-4 victory over Matt Dunstone at the SaskTel Center. Bottcher, the reigning men’s national champion, fell to 1-4 after losing a 9-7 decision to defending champion Kevin Koe.

A tie in the first end gave Gushue control early and he sidelined the game with three runs in the eighth end. His ice rink in St. John’s, Newfoundland and Labrador, delivered results despite one of the toughest opening times of the nine men’s teams on the field.

“We are playing well, we are not playing well,” said Gushue. “We were lucky, I’m not going to lie to you. We missed some jumps that we haven’t seen that often. So there was a bit of luck. Shots from us.”[also[beensometimelyshotsbyus”[also[ beensometimelyshotsbyus”

Gushue’s team threw a whopping 97% overall, helped by Geoff Walker’s perfect play. The Dunstone Quartet was at 92%.

WATCH | Koe beats Bottcher:

Koe defeats Bottcher at Canadian Curling Trials

Kevin Koe improves his record to 3-1 in a high scoring game. The 8th end featured a great draw in turn giving him 3 critical points on his way to a 9-7 win in Draw 10 in Saskatoon. 0:31

In the other opening games, Brad Jacobs beat Jason Gunnlaugson 7-5 and Mike McEwen edged Tanner Horgan 6-5. Jacobs was alone in second place at 4-1 with McEwen and Koe on the side at 3-1.

John Epping, who was inactive for the morning session, was in fifth place at 2-2. Gunnlaugson and Horgan fell to 1-3 and Dunstone, the only Saskatchewan-based entry to the field, went winless at 0-5.

The top three teams at the end of the round robin on Friday night will advance to the weekend playoffs.

A 5-3 record was good enough to qualify for the 2017 Trials in Ottawa. While it’s too early to mathematically eliminate a team, a fourth loss will essentially rule out the weekend’s game.

An intriguing draw for the women was scheduled for Wednesday afternoon and the men were due to return in the evening.

Five women’s teams – including defending champion Rachel Homan – started the day with three losses apiece. Homan, who missed the podium at the Pyeongchang 2018 Games, had to face Laura Walker in a last-place jump battle at 1-3.

Walker vice Kate Cameron was cleared to play after a COVID-19 PCR test came back negative, Curling Canada said in an email. Cameron missed Monday’s game due to an unspecified illness and the team was absent on Tuesday.

Tracy Fleury, the only undefeated female captain at 4-0, was to meet Jacqueline Harrison (2-2). Jennifer Jones (4-1) was to face Kelsey Rocque (1-3) and Kerri Einarson (3-2) was to face Krista McCarville (2-3).

Casey Scheidegger (2-3) was on leave.

The tiebreakers and semi-finals are scheduled for Saturday. The winners of Sunday’s finals will represent Canada at the Beijing Olympics from February 4 to 20.

Koe also missed the podium at the 2018 Games. Canadians John Morris and Kaitlyn Lawes won gold in mixed doubles, a discipline that made its Olympic debut in Pyeongchang.


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