'I knew halfway down the sheet we had it made': Brad Gushue

Brad Gushue's Team Newfoundland and Labrador scored four in the ninth end against Saskatchewan Monday night to pin down a win at the 2017 Tim Hortons Brier.

The 10-5 victory improved Team N.L. to 3-1, putting them in third place heading into Day 4 of the Brier.

Gushue told CBC he didn't feel much pressure making what he called "a pretty basic shot" to score four, which sparked wild cheers from the hometown crowd.

"Even if I miss it, we're still in pretty good shape," he said. "It was fun. I knew halfway down the sheet we had it made, so I knew the crowd was going to erupt. It's a fun atmosphere for us to play in, and certainly, when you hear that, it's pretty nice and makes us feel pretty good."

Gushue's rink takes on the winless N.W.T. (0-4, skipped by Jamie Koe) among the morning's first draws at 10 a.m., and then will square off against Northern Ontario's Brad Jacobs, currently in second place at 4-1.

He said his team has done a good job so far of enjoying the Brier in St. John's while maintaining a focus on the matches.

Hometown Brier fun and work

"It's a fine line we have to strike between enjoying the moment and also doing what makes us successful," Gushue said.

"We've had a lot of success playing at the Slams and we kind of have a routine and the way we are on the ice, the way we handle everything around us, so we're trying to do that as much as possible, but usually, that doesn't involve us engaging the crowd as much as what we'd like to this week to get the crowd behind us."

Early nerves 

He said the nerves he felt heading into the team's first match have settled down.

"I felt like it was a normal game out there, normal Brier game," he said. "Obviously there's still some nerves and excitement to play, but not to the point that it was really affecting me physically, like it was in the first game."

The skip said he's surprised when he hears athletes say they're not nervous ahead of major competitions.

"If you're not nervous, you don't care enough, or you're lying," he said. "And generally, it's the second. It's just me telling it like it is, which is we were all nervous. And it affected us physically, and emotionally as well, but I thought we handled it pretty well."

Mike McEwen's undefeated Manitoba squad is in first place at 4-0.

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