Brad Gushue and his St. John’s Curling rink had had two winning streaks end over the weekend in Sault Ste. Marie, Ont.
One was lengthy. The other was short, but still notable.
With regards to the latter, Gushue and teammates Mark Nichols, Brett Gallant and Geoff Walker were denied a shot at a third straight Pinty’s Grand Slam of Curling title this season with a 4-3 loss to Mike McEwen’s Manitoba rink in the quarter-final round of the Boost National.
The playoff setback came a day after Gushue and Co. fell 5-2 to John Morris in their final game of the preliminary round. That ended a string of 23 consecutive wins — 17 of them coming in Grand Slam competition — for the defending world and Brier champions, who were 3-1 heading into the weekend playoffs.
Interestingly, the victory was Morris’s first in three Grand Slam events this fall, the other competitions being the Tour Challenge and Masters, both won by Gushue’s rink.
The National represented the last competition for the Gushue rink until the Canadian Olympic Trials, which begin Dec. 2 in Ottawa.
The National did not run anything true to the World Curling Tour points standings, with Scotland’s Bruce Mouat — whom Gushue defeated in preliminary play — and Chang-Min Kim of South Korea both pulling off playoff upsets to make it to today’s final on the men’s side, with Mouat coming out the winner.
In semifinal play, Mouat beat McEwen , while Kim shaded Toronto’s John Epping 8-7.