There will be something beyond provincial bragging rights on the line when St. John’s rinks skipped by Brad Gushue and Greg Smith square off in an all-Newfoundland matchup in the Brier tonight.
But the result won’t determine whether Smith and his Newfoundland and Labrador representatives will move onto 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 saw their chances of advancement end with a 6-2 loss to Mike McEwen and his wild-card entry this morning.
That loss left Newfoundland with a 1-5 record and 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 in 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, know they’re moving on, a victory in tonight’s final preliminary-round draw will still be important since advancing teams will take their records with them into the championship pool.
That means you can expect Gushue and Team Canada to battle hard for a victory tonight against Smith and the Newfoundland reps.