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Brad Gushue vows this Newfoundland and Labrador team will stay together despite a crushing playoff loss Saturday that ended his hopes for a first Canadian men’s curling championship.
Gushue’s inexperienced teammates collapsed under the pressure of the playoff between his third place team and fourth-place Brad Jacobs of Northern Ontario who won 6-5 in an extra end.
Newfoundland third Brett Gallant was playing in his first Tim Hortons Brier while second Adam Casey and lead Geoff Walker were in their second although the team did not make the playoffs last year.
“We weren’t at our best. We didn’t put up much of an effort,” Gushue said. “Even though it was an extra end and the last rock (to win) it was a weak game. We made some big mistakes. I think our inexperience showed… It sucks. I don’t feel very good right now.”
But Gushue believes he finally has a line-up he’d like to keep together although he’s unsure of Casey’s plans when he graduates from university this year.
“I hope he can get a job in St. John’s but it’s my full intention to keep this team together,” Gushue said.
Jacobs will play Ontario’s Glenn Howard in a semi-final with the winner playing for the championship Sunday night against Manitoba’s Jeff Stoughton.
Howard, who finished the preliminary round in first place, handed Manitoba the win in a playoff between the top two teams when Ontario third Wayne Middaugh missed a take-out in the tenth end and Howard crashed on one of his own stones attempting a double-takeout.
Stoughton made a routine draw to score three points for a 7-6 win.
The loser of the semi-final will play Gushue in a bronze medal game.
After a scoreless first end, Jacob made a perfect double-runback of a pair of guards to remove a Newfoundland stone and sit shot rock. Gushue was forced to draw the four-foot ring for a single point.
In the third end, Gushue drew precisely to behind several rocks in the top of the rings to freeze to the Jacobs shot rock that was resting against another Newfoundland stone.
Jacobs manage to slam the side of the Newfoundland rock, removing it and another to score two points.
Gushue was held to a single point in the fourth end when he bumped the first of a string of rocks that pushed a Newfoundland stone on to the button.
Already sitting shot stone in the fifth end, Jacobs had a simple draw to the four-foot for two points.
Jacobs kept control in the seventh end with a raise takeout of a Newfoundland stone the left Northern Ontario with two stones in the top and rear of the four-foot. Gushue could do nothing but draw to the full four-foot for one point.
Jacobs drew for a single against two Newfoundland stones in the eighth end to retake a two point lead.
Newfoundland couldn’t get a break in the ninth end when one of second Adam Casey’s rocks veered off-line after “picking” on a piece of debris or flat-spot on the ice. Gushue failed to make a double-take out and on his final shot of the end could do nothing but draw for a single point.
Newfoundland’s luck turned in the 10th end when Jacobs failed to peel a guard allowing Gushue to put a second guard in front of the house. Jacobs rubbed a guard trying to get to one of his own rocks that he was trying to raise back against a Newfoundland stone on the button. Gushue stole a point to tie the game forcing the extra end.
Casey tossed a stone through the house and failed to get his second stone in play beyond the hogline in the extra end making it nearly impossible for Newfoundland to steal the point needed for a win.
Jacobs had a routine draw to the four-foot for a single point and the win.