Geoff Walker (L) and Brett Gallant (R) sweep a stone during the Meridian Canadian Open in North Battleford, Sask. (Anil Mungal)

Gushue steals Canadian Open final spot from Jacobs

January 8, 2017, 1:33 AM

NORTH BATTLEFORD, Sask. — No hammer? No problem for Brad Gushue.

The St. John’s, N.L., native never held the hammer during his Meridian Canadian Open semifinal match against Brad Jacobs of Sault Ste. Marie, Ont., but stole three ends to shut out the reigning Olympic champion 4-0 Saturday night and advance to the final.

Gushue has now reached the Canadian Open finals in four consecutive seasons with a title win at the event in 2014. The six-time Pinty’s Grand Slam of Curling champion Gushue faces off against Niklas Edin after the Swedish side topped John Morris’s team from Vernon, B.C., 7-4.

“It has been great,” Team Gushue lead Geoff Walker said. “Coming to Saskatchewan is fun. The crowds are great and it seems we’ve got a lot of support out there so it’s a lot of fun.”

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Jacobs was on a roll winning four straight and entered the event having captured the Boost National in his hometown just last month. It was a tight match to start as Jacobs put doughnuts on the board in the opening three ends waiting for the right opportunity to pounce.

However, it was Gushue, the 2006 Olympic gold medallist, who struck the scoreboard first stealing two in the fourth end when Jacobs attempted to draw into a crowded house and was off line hitting a stone.

Jacobs blanked the fifth end as well and gave up a single steals in six and seven then shook hands.

“We just had to be patient, especially against those guys, obviously, they’re such good hitters,” Walker said. “We took our chance in the fourth and were finally able to make a bunch of shots. They just missed key ones and we stole a couple, which is huge against them.”

It’s also just Gushue’s second event of the season after missing the first eight tournament of 2016-17 due to a hip/groin issue.


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Edin, who qualified A-side at 3-0 in the triple knockout preliminary round, earned his fifth consecutive victory of the tournament to reach his third Pinty’s GSOC final of the season.

The two-time world champion Edin has been on fire all season with five title wins already including his first couple Pinty’s Grand Slam of Curling championships taking the WFG Masters and Tour Challenge.

Tied 1-1 after two, Edin made a double for a deuce in three. Then along came Team Morris fourth Jim Cotter, who kicked out Edin’s shot rock for a three count in four to pull ahead 4-3.

It was all Edin from there as he blanked the fifth to retain the hammer and scored another deuce in six to reclaim the lead. Morris couldn’t work the magic again giving up a steal of one in seven and had little options with the hammer coming home in eight as Edin swiped another point.

The women’s final between Casey Scheidegger of Lethbridge, Alta., and Switzerland’s Silvana Tirinzoni goes down at 4 p.m. ET on Sportsnet. It’s a family affair for Walker as his sister, Stephanie Enright, plays lead on Team Scheidegger and is making her Grand Slam debut at the event.

“For them to come to their first actual Grand Slam, the main field, and make the final, that’s pretty exciting,” Walker said. “I’m pretty proud of her.”

NOTES: The Meridian Canadian Open is the fourth event and third major of the 2016-17 Pinty’s Grand Slam of Curling season. … Winners of the Meridian Canadian Open earn spots for the season-ending Humpty’s Champions Cup taking place at the end of April in Calgary.

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