Gushue just misses out on tiebreaker at Brier

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A lot of things had to fall the right way over the last two draws of the Tim Hortons Brier to give Brad Gushue and his Newfoundland and Labrador rink a shot at a tiebreaker and possible playoff berth.

They all did — except for one. That was when Quebec’s Jean-Michel Menard made a double-takeout with his last shot to run Alberta’s Kevin Koe out of rocks and score a 7-5 win in the final round-robin draw earlier today at the Canadian men’s curling championship in Kamloops, B.C. 

The result gave Quebec the fourth and final playoff berth with a 7-4 record and avoided what would have a four-team tiebreaker. Had Menard lost, he would have been tied with Gushue, Saskatchewan’s Steve Laycock and New Brunswick’s James Grattan, who all finished with 6-5 records.

Gushue and his Bally Haly Curling Club rink of Brett Gallant, Adam Casey and Geoff Walker won their final two round-robin games Thursday to get to six wins and to keep their playoff hopes alive. But they didn’t play in today’s final round-robin draw and had to wait and hope that Quebec and Saskatchewan, who did, both lost to set up the multi-team tiebreaker.

Laycock and Saskatchewan dropped a 9-7 decision to Grattan and New Brunswick, fulfilling half of Gushue’s needs, but Menard, the 2006 Brier champ, came up clutch against Koe, snapping the Albertan’s nine-game winning streak and dashing the hopes of Newfoundland — as well as those of Laycock, Grattan and their teams.

Koe takes on British Columbia’s John Morris in the 1-2 Page Playoff game tonight. Meanwhile, Menard plays Manitoba’s Jeff Stoughton in the Page 3-4 game 6 p.m. NT Saturday, with the winning team advancing to the semifinal against the loser of the Page 1-2 game. That semifinal will be 11 p.m. (NT) Saturday.

The Brier final is 9 p.m. NT on Sunday.

Koe, Morris and Manitoba’s Jeff Stoughton all had 9-2 records, but Morris and Koe got to the 1-2 game because of their success in a pre-competition tiebreaker that saw every member of all the competing teams attempt to draw to the button.

Organizations: Bally Haly Curling Club

Geographic location: Saskatchewan, Quebec, New Brunswick Manitoba Newfoundland British Columbia

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