Brad Gushue returns to play at the 2015 Pinty's GSOC Masters in Truro, N.S. (Photo: Anil Mungal)

Brad Gushue returns after frightening fall on ice

October 31, 2015, 3:31 PM

TRURO, N.S. — Brad Gushue of St. John’s made an unbelievable return to his quarterfinal game at the Masters against Saskatoon’s Steve Laycock after a frightening fall that required a trip to the hospital for stitches on Saturday afternoon.

Gushue, the 2006 Olympic gold medallist and a three-time Grand Slam champion, slipped and hit his head on the ice during the fourth end that brought a halt to play in all four games of the draw. Gushue required medical attention and was taken to a hospital where he received stitches as his three teammates continued to play.

However, Gushue was patched up and cleared to return and the crowd roared during the seventh end when he stepped back onto the ice and resumed skip duties for his team trailing 3-1.

Gushue got a single in the end but Laycock scored two in the final frame to win 5-2 and advance to the semifinals.

“Tough day at the office, for sure,” Gushue said after the game. “I don’t know what happened. I just fell and couldn’t get my arms underneath me and fell right on my face. Seven stitches, bad headache and sore neck. It’ll be rough tomorrow.”

With Gushue leaving in the fourth, lead Geoff Walker made the team’s last rock to the button with a perfect draw facing three counters for a single that tied the game 1-1.

Third Mark Nichols attempted an in-off with the team’s last shot in five but only got one and Laycock made an open draw for two. Nichols blanked the sixth.

It was Laycock’s second game of the day after he defeated Glenn Howard 6-3 in the morning tiebreaker to set up the quarterfinal match against the defending Masters champion.

“That was a pretty different situation out there,” Laycock said. “I’ve never been involved in a game where there’s been a serious injury like that. It was really tough to watch but it was great to see that he was able to come back and that it wasn’t more serious than it was.

“I was really proud of the guys and how we stayed focused through that because we continued to make good shots.”

Laycock now plays Jim Cotter, from Vernon, B.C., who trumped Brad Jacobs of Sault Ste. Marie, Ont., 8-1 to advance. Team Cotter took control of the game in the second half, breaking a 1-1 tie with a three-ender in five and added steals of one in six and three in seven to roll into the semis.

Cotter won the Tour Challenge Tier 2 event in September to earn a berth at the Masters, the first major of the 2015-16 Pinty’s Grand Slam of Curling season.

GSOC Masters Live: Scores | Standings | Draw Schedule | TV Schedule

Tour Challenge Tier 1`winner Kevin Koe of Calgary made an incredible final shot to score three in the last end and come from behind for a 7-5 victory over reigning world champion Niklas Edin of Sweden.

“The first five ends we weren’t super sharp and they played well and we didn’t put any pressure on them so the scoreboard showed that,” Team Koe second Brent Laing said. “Then Kevin made a phantom deuce of his own in six to keep us in it and a good force in seven.

“We played a good game in eight, both teams were low on time so it was a little extra panic out there. Emotions were running even higher than normal for a close game. Kevin made a great shot on his last and picked it out for the win. Those come-from-behind wins are always fun and exciting so we were pretty pumped to make it happen.”

Koe will play Mike McEwen, who moved on with a 7-4 victory over Reid Carruthers in an all-Winnipeg rink matchup. McEwen made hit and sticks to score two in the first and three in the fourth. Carruthers got a single after a measurement in three and earned a deuce in five but McEwen matched with a pair in six. Carruthers was held to one in seven and shook hands.

The Masters is the second stop on the seven-event Pinty’s GSOC schedule and runs through to Sunday at the Rath Eastlink Community Centre. Women’s quarterfinals are set for 6 p.m. AT on Sportsnet.