The Newfoundland and Labrador rink downed another top opponent this afternoon, edging John Morris and British Columbia 5-4 in an extra end at Mile One Centre.
The result improves Newfoundland and Labrador’s record to 5-2 as the home team prepares for a night-time match with Quebec’s’s Jean Michel Menard (8 p.m. NT). A win in that one would mean Gushue, Mark Nichols, Brett Gallant and Geoff Walker would be in no worse than a tie for second place in the 12-team standings.
After being surprised Tuesday morning in an 8-4 loss to the Northwest Territories, Newfoundland rebounded for a 7-5 win over 2013 Brier champion Brad Jacobs and Ontario that night. British Columbia, with Morris skipping, but Jim Cotter throwing fourth, provided a second straight stiff challenge.
Newfoundland never trailed in the game, taking a 4-2 lead into the 10th, where the British Columbians managed their only score of two.
In the extra end, Gushue finished up with a simple takeout for the winning point.
“(We) picked up where left off last night,” said Gushue after the win over B.C. (5-4). “It seems like we’ve turned the corner. It feels like our normal team and the way we operate.
“The only thing now is we’re still missing some shots, but at least our processes are the right way, the way they normally are.”
But even Gushue, perfectionist that he is, appreciates the direction in which his team is headed.
“I really like the way we’re going about things right now. We’ve had enough good results over the last couple of years that when we do the right thing, good things happen,” he said.
“Two games isn’t rock solid, but it’s certainly a trend and we want to continue that trend.”
Quebec has the same record as Newfoundland, winning five straight after opening with two losses, and Menard is yet another Brier-winning skip having won his Canadian title in 2006.
When asked if he had the Northern Ontario-B.C.-Quebec stretch icircled heading into this week, Nichols shook his head.
“To be honest, I don’t look too much at the schedule or make too much of it.,” he answered. “We’ve got to play everyone sometime and you know with B.C. or a Jacobs last night that they’re going to be tough no matter when you face them.”
Mike McEwen, coming off a dramatic last-shot 6-5 win over Jacobs this afternoon, leads the standings with a 6-1 record. Northern Ontario also has six wins, but also three losses. Then it’s Team Canada, Newfoundland and Quebec, all at 5-2. The other seven teams have at least four losses, considered pretty much the borderline for any team with playoff aspirations.