OTTAWA — Winnipeg’s Mike McEwen will meet Calgary’s Kevin Koe in Sunday’s Roar of the Rings final for the chance to wear the red and white for Canada at the 2018 Winter Olympics.
McEwen, who has won six Pinty’s Grand Slam of Curling titles, defeated reigning world champion Brad Gushue of St. John’s, N.L., 6-4 in Saturday’s semifinal showdown at Canadian Tire Centre.
Here’s how McEwen pulled it off:
1ST END: Gushue held the hammer to start but had to hit against two counters and settle for a single. GUSHUE 1, MCEWEN 0
2ND END: McEwen was drawing a blank. Not literally, of course, as he had to hit and roll out Gushue’s lone stone in the house to make it work. GUSHUE 1, MCEWEN 0
3RD END: All hits, but a couple of misses. McEwen couldn’t get the double takeout with his first skip stone and — while looking at two counters again — opted for a tap with a little roll for just a single. GUSHUE 1, MCEWEN 1
4TH END: And the measurement goes to … Gushue. McEwen made a mistake on his first skip stone as he was light hitting his own that bumped (but nowhere near hard enough) Gushue’s shot stone. Gushue drew to the button and landed on the lid, of course, but McEwen followed the path to end up on top with both just inches away from the pin. Gushue opted to promote one from the 12-foot circle and send it in to tap another, however, he didn’t get it quite right. It was a save as the measuring stick came out and gave the point to Gushue. GUSHUE 2, MCEWEN 1
5TH END: Go big or go home for Magic Mike. Gushue left a risky but makeable double for McEwen, who went for it and took the lead. MCEWEN 3, GUSHUE 2
6TH END: What would an intense match with Olympic implications on the line be without a little controversy? McEwen caught the edge of Gushue’s rock in the house with the back of his foot just a split second prior to a stone knocking out. A crisis was averted as Gushue deferred to the official, who believed it would have gone out regardless, and they let the play stand.
Anywho, McEwen had one biting the side of the 12-foot circle and under cover after his last, forcing Gushue to draw for one and bring things level on the scoreboard. MCEWEN 3, GUSHUE 3
7TH END: No double this time. McEwen saw two counters in the house but played it conservatively hitting the shot stone straight on and using the second as a catcher to jump back into the lead. MCEWEN 4, GUSHUE 3
8TH END: What a beauty by McEwen hitting off of Gushue’s stone to roll behind cover and sit first and second shot to set up a steal situation. Gushue attempted a double takeout for two but misfired and once the dust was settled, McEwen had swiped a pair o’ points. MCEWEN 6, GUSHUE 3
9TH END: McEwen was on the money again with a run double to lie two counters after his first skip stone. Gushue drew to freeze on top but McEwen was able to touch enough of it to knock it out the side door and holding Gushue to just a draw for one to (where else?) on the button. MCEWEN 6, GUSHUE 4
10TH END: That’s the ballgame! McEwen held the hammer coming home and took out the one Gushue stone at the side of the house with his first skip rock to prevent a loss from happening here. Gushue had to sit two and hit and rolled on the shot rock but slid too far for Xs on the board. MCEWEN 6, GUSHUE 4
NOTES: Gushue finished second in the round-robin standings with a 6-2 record including an 8-3 victory Wednesday night over McEwen. … McEwen made it through in third with a 5-3 record. … Koe is all clear to the final topping the table at 7-1 with the lone blemish on his record being a 6-3 decision Friday night to Gushue. … Earlier, Ottawa’s own Rachel Homan topped reigning Olympic gold medallist Jennifer Jones of Winnipeg 6-3 in the women’s semifinal. Homan advanced to face Calgary’s Chelsea Carey in Sunday’s final.