Reid Carruthers at the 2016 Humpty's Champions Cup in Sherwood Park, Alta. (Photo: Anil Mungal)

Carruthers holds on to top McEwen in Masters Draw 7 thriller

October 27, 2016, 5:31 PM

OKOTOKS, Alta. — Reid Carruthers drew against a triangle of counters to hold on and defeat defending champ Mike McEwen 7-5 during an all-Winnipeg team match at the WFG Masters.

It started out no hammer, no problem for Carruthers, who opened the match stealing three ends to lead 5-0 before McEwen chipped away and forced the high-pressure draw coming home.

Team Carruthers climbed to a 2-1 record, although their last almost rolled heavy before hitting the brakes just in time, eerily reminiscent of their winner in last season’s Humpty’s Champions Cup final.

“The ice has been great all week and held really good so that was the fastest spot on the ice,” Team Carruthers third Braeden Moskowy said. “It was kind of tough because we didn’t really have any time left either so Reid did a great job of just taking a second and composing himself and we made another one to win so it’s a great feeling.”

Carruthers swiped a single in the first end when McEwen looked at two counters on opposite sides of the four-foot circle with his last and hit and rolled too far.

McEwen (1-1) blanked the second and fell into trouble again in three facing four lined up in a row and was light on the draw to give up a steal of three.

Carruthers didn’t let McEwen off the hook and forced McEwen to make a tricky angle raise in four, however, he rolled too deep and gave up another point trailing 5-0 at halftime.

“It was kind of crazy,” Moskowy said. “We got some uncharacteristic misses out of them early and jumped out ahead but that’s the beauty of the five-rock rule you can’t get defensive. There’s going to be a ton of rocks in play and in the second half they made more shots than we did and clawed right back into it.”

McEwen chipped away at the lead scoring a deuce in five by tapping his own stone back to punch out Carruthers’s shot rock. Carruthers counted another point in six and McEwen made a great shot in seven to narrow the gap to one with a three-ender to set the table for the dramatic finale.

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Meanwhile, Team Gushue of St. John’s, N.L., edged Brad Jacobs of Sault Ste. Marie, Ont., 5-4.

Team Gushue (2-0) is playing without skip Brad Gushue, who is nursing a left hip injury. Charley Thomas has stepped in to spare at third with vice Mark Nichols moving up to call the shots.

Jacobs now holds a 2-1 record.

In women’s division action, Alina Paetz (1-2) of Switzerland swiped a 6-5 victory over Scotland’s Eve Muirhead (0-2) to stay in the mix. Muirhead held the hammer coming home all knotted up, but her last stone rolled through and missed Paetz’s shot rock.

Sweden’s Anna Hasselborg (3-0) is through to the playoffs after defeating Tracy Fleury (1-1) of Sudbury, Ont., 7-5. Hasselborg opened with a deuce and stole a point for an early 3-0 until Fleury charged back counting a trey in the third to tie it.

Hasselborg settled for a single in four and stole two in five to double up 6-3. Fleury tried to rally back again with a deuce in six. Hasselborg was forced to draw with her last in eight and made it to guarantee a playoff spot.

EunJung Kim of South Korea improved to a 2-0 record with a convincing 8-2 win over Edmonton’s Kelsey Rocque (1-2). Kim jumped into the lead counting three in the fourth then rolled out stealing two in the fifth and single points in six and seven to bring out handshakes.

NOTES: The WFG Masters is the first of seven events on the 2016-17 Pinty’s GSOC schedule. … The event is also the first of four majors in the series alongside the Boost National, Meridian Canadian Open and WestJet Players’ Championship. … The WFG Masters runs through to Sunday at Pason Centennial Arena with action continuing Thursday at 4 p.m. MT on Sportsnet ONE and Sportsnet NOW.