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New Brunswick rink is an unknown quantity

New Brunswick skip Mike Kennedy releases a rock as they play Alberta in draw 6 action at the Tim Hortons Brier at Mile One Centre in St. John's on Monday.
New Brunswick skip Mike Kennedy releases a rock as they play Alberta in draw 6 action at the Tim Hortons Brier at Mile One Centre in St. John's on Monday.

Nobody is listing New Brunswick among the favourites this week at the Brier, but don’t suggest to skips of the favourites that they should have the likes of N.B., the Northwest Territories or pre-qualifying winner Nova Scotia checked off as easier opponents on their schedules.

“You are always worried playing any team here,” said Newfoundland skip Brad Gushue. “You hear it all the time because it is true — you can’t take anyone lightly.”

Gushue and his rinkmates topped New Brunswick and Mike Kennedy 5-4 Sunday night in a game where the home team wasn’t at its best, but good enough to win. Had they been a little worse or the Maritimers a little better, Gushue knows the result would have probably been different.

“You know they’re capable of curling 90 per cent and if they do that, then they probably beat us,” he said of the Kennedy rink.

While Kennedy and his rinkmates have all been to Briers before, they don’t participate in the top-tier World Curling Tour schedule, and that can present a particular challenge for a team like Gushue’s,

“Absolutely. They throw it a bit different, but you don’t have as good a read on how they throw it,” said Gushue.  “When we play a team like (Manitoba’s Mike) McEwen or (Team Canada and Kevin) Koe, we already have a good idea of how they throw, so we kind of get a feel for what the ice is doing through how they’re throwing and by what their rocks are doing.

“With a team like (New Brunswick), you don’t get that.”

bmcc@thetelegram.com
Twitter: telybrendan

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