Brad Gushue, Mark Nichols, Brett Gallant and Geoff Walker celebrate with the Masters trophy Sunday in Lloydminster, Sask. (Anil Mungal)

Gushue doubles up on Edin to win Masters title

October 29, 2017, 4:26 PM

LLOYDMINSTER, Sask. — Brad Gushue of St. John’s, N.L., completed a second straight undefeated run through a Pinty’s Grand Slam of Curling tournament.

The St. John’s, N.L., native Gushue doubled up on Sweden’s Niklas Edin 8-4 in the Masters men’s final Sunday to capture his ninth career championship and seventh major in the series.

Gushue, third Mark Nichols, second Brett Gallant and lead Geoff Walker also posted a perfect record at the Tour Challenge Tier 1 in September and have started the 2017-18 Pinty’s Grand Slam of Curling season with an unblemished 14-0 record.

Team Gushue went 4-0 through round-robin play, defeated Peter de Cruz of Switzerland in the quarterfinals and Calgary’s Kevin Koe in the semifinals.

“It’s nice to win the original ones,” Gushue said. “It was a good week and we had fun. We obviously built as the week went on. The first three or four games we kind of found ways to win. We weren’t necessarily playing really well but last night against Kevin and today against Niklas I felt like we played really good and that’s a good sign.”

However, Gushue isn’t putting too much stock into the streak in their winning streak.

“I think what’s more important for us is how we’re playing,” Gushue said. “We had a bunch of games this week where we could have easily lost and probably should have lost so [I’m] very fortunate to be 14-0. The more important thing is to have two Slam titles this season. Whether you come through a tiebreaker or go through undefeated if you win the event at the end of the week that’s all people are going to remember.”

Team Gushue also includes fifth Tom Sallows and coach Jules Owchar.

The 2006 Olympic gold medallist Gushue opened with the hammer but it was a missed opportunity to start as he sat shot rock prior to his last and came up short of the draw for two.

“I had two rocks that curled more than all of the others on the sheet,” Gushue said. “The last thing I wanted to do was over-curl and bump them in for one. I made sure I got out there wide enough, it was a little bit slower and came up light. With the exception of that shot, we played really good and I’m very proud of my teammates.”

Edin faced five counters in the second and avoided an early disaster tapping in for a single to tie it. The three-time Pinty’s GSOC title winner Edin made a great runback double takeout and Gushue followed suit with a double of his own for a deuce and a 3-1 lead.

The curling clinic continued as Edin drew for one point in the fourth to keep pace.

Gushue cracked the game wide open in the fifth. After Edin crashed on one of his own, the door was wide open for Gushue to draw for three and extend his lead 6-2.

It wasn’t over yet though as Edin bounced back in the sixth end. Gushue clicked off a guard while trying to thread the needle through a narrow port with his first skip stone, Edin pulled it off himself on his throw to set up a hit for two points on his last.

“That was the right way to miss that shot because once I ticked that over there was no way they were going to get a three,” Gushue said. “If I had ticked the right guard and he makes a really good freeze or another good shot and we might give up three. With the scoreboard the way it was we had to play the smart shot and to tick that was certainly one of the best results other than the shot we were trying to make.”

Although the sixth kept Edin in it, it was ballgame after the seventh. Edin fell into trouble again and threw a hard double attempt to stay alive, but hit only one and Gushue tacked on another two points with a draw to bring out handshakes.

“I felt our team did a really good job of setting us up,” Gushue said. “Geoff put the rocks in good positions early. Brett played well and Mark played well. The couple times we weren’t in real big trouble but if we were in any little bit of trouble I made some shots as well. A very good team effort.”

Edin went 3-1 through the round-robin and scored wins over a pair of Winnipeg opponents in Reid Carruthers during the quarterfinals and Mike McEwen in the semifinals.

The Karlstad-based crew of Edin, third Oskar Eriksson, second Rasmus Wrana, lead Christoffer Sundgren and coach Fredrik Lindberg won their first Pinty’s Grand Slam of Curling title at the event last season and made history as the first non-Canadian men’s team to win a championship in the series. Team Edin, who will represent Sweden in the 2018 Winter Olympics, now prepares to defend the European Championship next month.

Meanwhile, Winnipeg’s Jennifer Jones captured her record eighth Pinty’s Grand Slam of Curling women’s championship. Jones edged Kerri Einarson of East St. Paul 6-5 in the all-Manitoba women’s final.

The next Pinty’s Grand Slam of Curling tournament is the Boost National running Nov. 14-19 at the Essar Centre in Sault Ste. Marie, Ont.