Gushue rink goes back to back at Brier

Gushue rink goes back to back at Brier”

Epping's Ontario team fell 6-4 to Alberta's Brendan Bottcher in Sunday's semifinal at the Tim Hortons Brier.

The victor of that game will move on to play Gushue for the championship.

It took Brad Gushue several years to win his first Canadian men's curling championship.

Gushue advanced to Sunday's final by beating Ontario's John Epping 6-2 in Saturday's playoff game between the top two seeds.

Not only did the Team Canada skip, alongside third Mark Nichols, second Brett Gallant and lead Geoff Walker, curl his way to back-to-back Briers, but he also broke the record for most wins as a skip, curled a game at 100% and almost went undefeated the whole tournament.

"It means a lot", Gushue told TSN when asked what the two straight Brier titles means to him.

"I don't ever want to say it was easy, but the fact we were playing so well, we felt so confident and so in control the whole way". "Kind of freewheeling it right now".

So good was Gushue in the playoffs that he curled a flawless 100 per cent in the Page playoff 1-2 game against John Epping, and 96 per cent in the final.

After the way Bottcher managed to get to the game, he was going to come out of this Brier a new star in the sport regardless.

So Alberta or Ontario will need a pair of wins Sunday to take the title. "That's really cool. That's something I'm pretty proud of". "Wear each other down as much as possible".

Bottcher meanwhile will play Jacobs again in the 3-4 game Saturday afternoon with Bottcher having hammer in the first end.

The skip was 100 per cent in shooting accuracy, although Gushue thought that was generous. Team Canada was 91 and Alberta 88.

"Felt really good on the throw", the skip said.

"Let's be honest. We came here as pretty big underdogs tonight. We'll learn from that and will hopefully get another shot at Brad".

But they twice beat 2013 champion Brad Jacobs of Northern Ontario en route to the final.

Bottcher operates without a safety net.

Gushue went 12-1 in Regina in a Brier that saw the skip, Nichols and Gallant all earn first-team all-star honors.

Gushue finishes the championship pool portion of the 2018 Tim Hortons Brier with a record of 10-1 with his only loss coming in pool play to Alberta's Brendan Bottcher by a score of 10-7. "Breaking the record was a special moment, winning back-to-back is a special moment".

Jacobs didn't make enough contact with that stone and gave up the steal of one.

"It's remarkable", Bottcher said. The foursome went undefeated to win last year's world title in Edmonton.

"That's what you dream about, and to make it is better still especially after I only hit eight-foot past year", Gushue says. Bottcher was very impressive on Friday evening as he defeated Northern Ontario 9-3.

"We went into the game feeling there was no pressure on us and a ton of pressure on him".

"I think we'll be underdogs against the last two and I like our chances still".

"I have a lot of respect for that team, they played well this week and I know they're disappointed but they should be proud of what they did".

"We've experimented a little bit this year with a few things and we found that we're a pretty tight-knit group".

Going without a fifth player means no substitute in the event of illness or injury. "We took the gamble we would all be healthy and we have been".

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