VICTORIA — Brad Gushue of St. John’s, N.L., picked up a 2 & 1 win Friday to eliminate Ottawa’s Rachel Homan from playoff contention at the Pinty’s Grand Slam of Curling Elite 10.
Homan (1-3) needed to steal the seventh end for a chance to stay in the mix but was unable to grab shot rock with her last and shook hands.
It was a battle between the two reigning Pinty’s GSOC National champions with Team Homan making history at the event. The winners of three Grand Slam titles this season became the first women’s rink to play in a men’s invitational since Sportsnet acquired the series in 2012.
Homan got on the board first stealing in the opening end when Gushue attempted a runback but missed the counter. Gushue was forced to draw to the tee line for a push in the second, but stole the third end to get on the board when Homan’s raised stone just grazed Gushue’s shot rock.
Gushue picked up another steal in four to pull ahead when Homan crashed on a guard with her last, and he swiped one more in five on a measurement. Homan drew to the lid for a push in the sixth end.
Gushue (3-0) is through to the playoffs with one round robin game remaining against Toronto’s John Epping (2-1).
Epping defeated Gushue to win the Meridian Canadian Open title in December.
GSOC Elite 10: Scores | Standings | TV schedule | Watch online for free
No hammer, no problem for recently crowned Brier champ Kevin Koe of Calgary. Koe (3-1) rode the steal train swiping five consecutive ends to win 5 & 3 over Edmonton’s Brendan Bottcher (0-3).
Meanwhile, Winnipeg’s Mike McEwen (2-1) earned a 1-up victory over Saskatoon’s Steve Laycock (3-1). Both teams have advanced to the playoffs.
On top of the match play format, the Elite 10 also added a few new rules this season. Players cannot make tick shots to guards on the centre line during the first five rocks, sweepers cannot use stopwatches, and teams are restricted to two sweeper brushes and one skip brush.
NOTES: The Elite 10 runs through to Sunday at the Q Centre at West Shore Parks & Recreation. … Six teams qualify for the playoffs with the top two receiving byes to the semifinals. There will be no tiebreaker draw. … Teams receive three points for a regulation win, two for an extra end win and one for an extra end loss.