Brad Gushue and his St. John’s rink had been on a roll at the Tour Challenge, the Pinty’s Grand Slam of Curling event which concluded in Thunder Bay, Ont., Sunday, but were brought to a screeching halt by the hot hand of an old adversary.
Gushue, Mark Nichols, Brett Gallant and Geoff Walker had gone 4-0 in the preliminary rounds of the event and the two-time defending Brier champions were the only one of the 15 men’s teams to go undefeated in pool play. But in the playoff quarter-final round, they ran into Ontario’s Glenn Howard, who came up with a doozy of a performance in a 6-4 victory.
The Howard team shot 93 per cent overall, with the skip at a phenomenal 95 per cent. By comparison, Gushue shot 83 per cent, with his team as a whole at 85 per cent.
Through three Grand Slam events this season, Gushue and Co. have an overall 12-4 record and have made the playoff each time, winning once, in the season-opening Elite 10,
In later playoff action at the Tour Challenge, Howard fell to Alberta’s Brendan Bottcher in the semifinals round. In Sunday’s final, Bottcher lost in an extra end to Brad Jacobs and his Northern Ontario foursome.
The next event on the Grand Slam schedule will be in Newfoundland. It is the Boost National, to be held Dec. 11-16 in Conception Bay South.