Team Gushue books ticket to Brier championship

Team Gushue books ticket to Brier championship

Brad Gushue and Team N.L. have guaranteed their spot in Sunday night's TIm Hortons Brier 2017 championship match.

For the second straight year, Gushue will reach the final game and come within grasp of the Brier tankard, the trophy that has so far eluded the team.

Gushue topped Manitoba's Mike McEwan 7 to 5 in the 1-2 Page playoff game Friday night, and won a direct trip into the final game. 

Newfoundland and Labrador took the lead in the second end and held the line against Team Manitoba the rest of the way, only allowing McEwan one two-point end in the eight.

After scoring two points of their own in the ninth, Newfoundland and Labrador ran Team Manitoba out of rocks in the tenth.

Team Gushue curled at 94 per cent throughout the match.

Team Manitoba will have another chance to reach the final in the semi-final game, which runs Saturday night at the Mile One Centre in St. John's.

Fulfilling expectations

Despite Team Gushue's accomplishments over the years, including an Olympic Gold medal, the Brier tankard has always eluded the club.

Gushue made the final last year, but lost 9 to 5 to Alberta's Kevin Koe.

After the early loss this year to Manitoba followed by the upset loss to Northwest Territories, local fans began to worry.

Following the N.W.T. loss, Gushue told reporters the team had to rethink its approach, vowing to "get angry" and embrace the energy of the hometown crowd.

After seven back-to-back victories, it looks like the team has found its groove.

"We just had to put our head down and keep working," Gushue told reporters Thursday night after beating Team Canada.

"We expected to be here, and even though we got off to a rough start and had some nerves and a lot of stress early on — I always felt we would get here."

Gushue on a run

Before taking the playoff game, Newfoundland and Labrador won their final game of regular play Friday afternoon.

The hometown club beat Team Nova Scota 6-3 in the 17th and final draw of round-robin play.

Thursday night, Team NL rallied from a 3-0 deficit when playing against defending champions Team Canada at Mile One Centre, with a dramatic 7-6 finish in the extra end.

- Playoff picture: Brier holding to form as pre-tournament favourites poised for playoffs

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