Gushue splits games on opening day of the Brier

The Canadian Press
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Critical of ice conditions after loss to Stoughton

KAMLOOPS, B.C. – Two veteran skips were both left scratching their heads at the Canadian men’s curling championships Saturday night, as a change in ice conditions saw crucial draw attempts in an extra end fall at least five metres short of the house.
Newfoundland and Labrador’s Brad Gushue, who lost the game 6-5 to Manitoba’s Jeff Stoughton, was more than a little peeved as the opening day of the Tim Horton’s Brier ended.


Gushue expressed his clear frustrations with the ice conditions.

“They lost the ice,” said Gushue, the 2006 Olympic gold medallist who, like Stoughton, is curling in his 11th Brier.

“You see two world class skips throw draws to the four foot that end up 20-feet light. It’s embarrassing. I think the ice is just (terrible). It’s unfortunate that it came down to that.”

He said he saw it happen to a lesser degree in an earlier game between Alberta’s Kevin Koe and B.C.’s John Morris.

Stoughton was just as mystified.

“We were going to draw probably half in the top four and I let it go, the guys said good weight and it just ground in,” he said.

Although, for him, the result was a little more satisfying as he left his shot stone in the house to win the game.

“I guess that side of the sheet got lost somehow but we’ll take it. We had one in there and he missed both his last two shots, what are you going to do?”

Morris and Stoughton, whose team includes former Gushue third and Labrador City native Mark Nichols sit at the top of the standings with two wins apiece after Saturday’s draw, followed by Brier rookie Greg Balsdon from Ontario and Steve Laycock from Saskatchewan with one win each.

Gushue joined Northern Ontario’s Jeff Currie at 1-1 while five rinks were winless after one game, Alberta, New Brunswick, The Northwest Territories-Yukon, Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island and Quebec.

In the evening draw, Morris beat Currie 8-2 in eight ends, after struggling earlier to edge Alberta’s Koe 7-6. Currie split the day, beating New Brunswick’s Jamie Grattan 13-5 in the opener.

Geographic location: Newfoundland and Labrador, Alberta, KAMLOOPS Manitoba New Brunswick Ontario Saskatchewan Northern Ontario Northwest Territories-Yukon Nova Scotia Prince Edward Island Quebec

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