Updated to show Brett Gallant did not play Wednesday
Brad Gushue and his teammates played eight ends Wednesday night in Toronto, most of them very well.
But one bad one did them in.
Gushue and his teammates gave up six points in the sixth end in dropping a 10-8 decision to Kevin Koe at the Players Championship Grand Slam of Curling event in a matchup of the teams that represented Canada at this year’s Olympic and world men’s championship.
Gushue had stolen two points in the fifth end to grab a 6-3 lead, but Koe came back with the huge score in the sixth, finishing things off with a takeout of an opposition counter. Gushue and Co. got two in the seventh to close to within one, but couldn’t come up with the steal they needed in the eighth and final end.
Gushue and his two-time Canadian men’s champions exited Wednesday with a 1-1 record. That was pretty good considering they played with just three players — Gushue, third Mark Nichols and lead Geof Walker — as second Brett Gallant was in Prince Edward Island to attend his grandfather's funeral.
In their other game Wednesday, Gushue and his abbreviated squad doubled Alberta’s Brendan Bocchter 8-4 in a rematch of the Brier final won by the Newfoundland rink last month in Regina.
There are 12 men’s and 12 women’s teams in the Players, which began just days after Gushue and his rink, wearing Team Canada colours, lost to Sweden’s Niklas Edin in the world men’s final in Vegas.
Edin is also competing in the Players Championship, being held at Ryerson University’s Mattamy Athletic Centre (formerly Maple Leaf Gardens).
The preliminary rounds in the events conclude Friday, with playoffs starting Saturday leading to Sunday finals.
Gushue’s pool also includes reigning Olympic champion John Shuster of the United States and John Epping of Ontario, his opponents today, and Reid Carruthers of Manitoba, whom he faces Friday.