LLOYDMINSTER, Sask. — Winnipeg’s Mike McEwen scored three in the eighth to oust top-seed Brad Jacobs of Sault Ste. Marie, Ont., 6-3 Saturday in the Masters men’s quarterfinals.
With the game tied and Jacobs sitting shot rock, McEwen made a razor-sharp throw down a narrow path, avoiding the wreck on the guards, to knock out the counter and knock out the reigning Olympic champion.
Masters: Scores & playoff brackets
Jacobs, who went 4-0 through the round-robin, opened with the hammer, but it was McEwen who got on the scoreboard first. Sitting a couple counters, Jacobs attempted a tricky thin double for a possible deuce and hit one but rolled high over the other to hand over a point.
A tap for a single in the second tied it up 1-1. After a blank in three, McEwen was forced through a port for one in the fourth and capitalized on some Team Jacobs misses to lie three in the fifth without the hammer. Jacobs made a great wide draw to the four-foot circle to only give up one and avoid disaster.
Jacobs was held to a single in six as his shooter chipped off his own shot rock and rolled too far. Facing three in the seventh, McEwen hit two of the counters to concede one and tie it 3-3 but retained the all-important hammer for the final frame.
The six-time Pinty’s Grand Slam of Curling title winner McEwen posted a 2-2 round-robin record and powered into the playoffs with an 8-2 victory over Norway’s Thomas Ulsrud in a tiebreaker late Friday.
McEwen will meet Niklas Edin of Sweden in the semifinals. The defending Masters champion Edin edged Winnipeg’s Reid Carruthers 4-3.
Meanwhile, reigning world champion Brad Gushue of St. John’s, N.L., advanced with an 8-3 win over Peter de Cruz of Switzerland.
Gushue took two in the first and went up 3-0 in the third when Team de Cruz fourth Benoit Schwarz’s rock slid too far to give up a point. De Cruz, who will represent his country at the 2018 Winter Olympics, got on the board in four with a single and the teams alternated deuces in five and six as Gushue stayed ahead on the board 5-3.
Team Gushue sat three in the seventh, Schwarz was unable to get into the pile and shook hands before his opponent could toss in his last.
Gushue, who won his eighth Pinty’s GSOC title at the Tour Challenge Tier 1 in September, extended his series winning streak to 12 games to start the season. The 2006 Olympic gold medallist Gushue now clashes with Calgary’s Kevin Koe in a rematch of last season’s Brier final.
Koe eliminated Winnipeg’s Jason Gunnlaugson 8-2. With the game knotted up 2-2 in the seventh, Gunnlaugson fell into a deep hole facing six and attempted one of his trademarked runbacks to declutter the house. His raised stone missed the mark and the teams shook hands.
Both Gushue and Koe also went through the round-robin undefeated at 4-0. Gunnlaugson won the Tour Challenge Tier 2 to earn a spot in the Masters.
The Masters women’s semifinals are Winnipeg’s Jennifer Jones versus Anna Hasselborg of Sweden and Scotland’s Eve Muirhead against Tour Challenge Tier 2 winner Kerri Einarson of Winnipeg. Watch at 9 p.m. ET / 7 p.m. MT on Sportsnet 360 and online at Sportsnet NOW (Canada) or gsoc.yaretv.com (international).