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Newfoundlanders were throwing rocks at each other in Regina Wednesday night

Newfoundland and Labrador skip Greg Smith (left) and Team Canada second Brett Gallant watch a shot the Tim Hortons Brier Canadian men's curling championship at the Brandt Centre in Regina on Wednesday. — Canadian Press photo/Andrew Vaughan
Newfoundland and Labrador skip Greg Smith (left) and Team Canada skip Brad Gushue watch a shot the Tim Hortons Brier Canadian men's curling championship at the Brandt Centre in Regina on Wednesday. — Canadian Press photo/Andrew Vaughan

Gushue, Team Canada defeat Smith and N.L. reps as Brier’s preliminary draw came to an end

Updated with Wednesday night result and today's schedule

Brad Gushue and Greg Smith squared off in the first ever all-Newfoundland matchup at the Brier in Regina Wednesday night.

But the final-draw result — Gushue and defending champion Team Canada won 7-2 in a game tthat saw the teams shake hands after eight ends — didn’t have anything to do with determining whether or not Smith and his Newfoundland and Labrador representatives moved on to the next phase of the Canadian men’s curling championship.

Smith and his St. John’s team of Matthew Hunt, Andrew Taylor and Ian Withycombe had already seen their chances of advancement end with a 6-2 loss to Mike McEwen and his wild-card entry from Manitoba on Wednesday morning.

That defeat left Newfoundland with no chance of getting into championship pool, where eight of the 16 teams entered in the Brier will compete for a chance to get into the weekend Page playoffs.

Gushue and defending champion Team Canada had already clinched a berth in the next round before suffering their first loss of this Brier, a 10-7 setback at the hands of Alberta Monday morning. However, even though he and his team, which also includes Mark Nichols, Brett Gallant and Geoff Walker, knew they’re moving on, a victory against Smith was crucial, since advancing teams will take their records with them into the championship pool.

Gushue and Canada finished 6-1, which tied them for best record in Pool A with Alberta. Smith and Newfoundland were 1-6.

Gushue will now play one game each against the top four finishers from pool B. His record from those four games combined with that from the prelimninary round will be determine if his rink will make it through to the four-team Page playoffs.

Smith — who had never played Gushue before Wednesday night — will have one more game left. Teams not advancing to the championship round cross over to face their opposite numbers in the other pool to determine final placings. Thise games will take place Friday morning, with one seeing Nerwfoundland taking on Prince Edward Island to decide 13th and 14th place.

Team Canada's first game in the championship pool is this afternoon (4:30 p.m.NT) against Reid Carruthers and Manitoba (5-2). Tonight, Gushue and Co. face Steve Laycock and Saskatchewan (4-3).

brendan.mccarthy@thetelegram.com

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