Brad Gushue and his Bally Haly Curling Club team from St. John’s kicked off its critical 2013-14 curling season with a victory Sunday, winning the Baden Masters World Curling Tour event in Basel, Switzerland.
This is an Olympic year, and the road back to the Olympic Games for Gushue starts in Kitchener, Ont., with the pre-Olympic Trials Nov. 5-10. The Trials, determined to pick the men’s and women’s curling representatives for Sochi, Russia, are scheduled Dec. 1-8 in Winnipeg.
Gushue is familiar with the Baden Masters, having won the event on two previous occasions.
Sunday, Gushue, Brett Gallant, Adam Casey and Geoff Walker capped off an undefeated run in Switzerland with a 4-3 extra-end win over Norway’s Thomas Ulsrud.
Gushue opened scoring by stealing a single in the first end, then held Ulsrud off the board until the fourth end when the Norwegians tied the game 1-1. Gushue scored a single in the sixth end, and then stole another point in the seventh for a 3-1 lead.
Ulsrud scoredtwo points in the eighth end to tie the game 3-3 after regulation, but Gushue held the all-important last shot in the extra end, which he used for make an open hit for the win.
Undefeated after the round robin, Gushue posted a 7-2 win over Switzerland’s Alex Attinger in the quarter-finals, and then defeated reigning back-to-back Baden Masters champion and Swiss Olympic representative Sven Michel 8-1 in the semifinals.
The Baden Masters boasted including Olympic teams from Sweden, Denmark, Russia, Great Britain, Switzerland, as well as lineups from Czech Republic, France, Germany and Latvia, along with Gushue, the sole Canadian team.
The Gushue rink is back at it again this weekend with the Stu Sells Oakville Tankard starting Thursday in Oakville, Ont., followed by the AMJ Campbell Shorty Jenkins Classic Sept. 19-22 in Brockville, Ont.