CALGARY — Brad Gushue emerged victorious over Brad Jacobs in the latest chapter of the “Battle of the Brads” at the Humpty’s Champions Cup.
Gushue, from St. John’s, N.L., scored three in the second and held on for a 5-4 victory Thursday to move up to a 2-0 record in the season finale Pinty’s Grand Slam of Curling tournament at WinSport Arena.
Jacobs, from Sault Ste. Marie, Ont., dropped to a 1-2 record and needs to win his remaining round-robin game Friday to keep his title defence alive.
“It was kind of a tough battle, there was a lot of curl out there so you make almost every shot,” Team Gushue second Brett Gallant said. “We just had to force them when they had the hammer and we did a good job out of that.”
Jacobs opened with the hammer but was held to a single in the first and drew through the cluttered free-guard zone to the button.
Gushue collided with his own guard during the second on his first skip stone but it turned into a blessing in disguise as it opened up the path to make an open hit for three on his final rock of the end when Jacobs’s flashed on his last.
“We got a couple breaks in that second end and we were able to get three and get ahead of them,” Gallant said. “That was nice because they won the draw to the button on us and against them, that’s usually pretty important because they’re so tough to come from behind against. We got a couple breaks and made some good shots in that end.”
The teams alternated singles through the third and fifth ends and Jacobs caught a bizarre break in the sixth. The 2014 Olympic gold medallist’s rock picked but managed to nudge a rock over to ricochet another into the pile by the button and bump out Gushue’s shot rock an inch to score.
Gushue, who earned silver at the world championship earlier this month, was just a tad short of the draw to give up a steal in seven that tied it 4-4.
“The seventh end was a little dicey there,” Gallant said. “We just misread how much ice we needed on Brad’s draw and Jacobs made a nice hit and roll and stole one on us but we still had control and the hammer so that was key.”
The 2006 Olympic champion Gushue didn’t need to toss the final stone of the game as he already sat shot rock and Jacobs was heavy on his last.
“We thought he’d make that shot but the ice is so quick sometimes as a sweeper it’s tough to judge because it looks like it’s barely moving and gets there easy,” Gallant said. “It’s good ice to play on but you’ve got to be on your toes.”
Team Gushue has won two Pinty’s Grand Slam of Curling titles this season to cash in the $75,000 Bonus Cup as the season champions and now look to collect the only trophy they haven’t won in the series.
Elsewhere in the eighth draw, Calgary’s Kevin Koe climbed to a 2-1 record with a 5-3 win over Glenn Howard of Tiny, Ont.
Koe rolled out to a 5-0 lead with a three-ender in the first followed by back-to-back single steals in two and three. Howard (1-1) chipped away getting a point in five and swiping singles of his own in six and seven but it was too little, too late.
American Team Greg Persinger, skipped by third Rich Ruohonen, also improved to a 2-1 record. Persinger rebounded on the day from a 5-4 extra-end loss to Tyler Tardi of Langley, B.C., in the morning with a 7-2 victory over Winnipeg’s Reid Carruthers (0-2).
Persinger broke a 1-1 tie with a three-ender in the third and stole two in the fourth to pad his lead. The teams alternated singles in six and seven leading to handshakes.
Two-time Olympic gold medallist John Morris, from nearby Canmore, Alta., is filling at third this week on Team Carruthers.
Scotland’s Bruce Mouat became the first on the men’s side to move up to 3-0 and qualify for the playoffs after outlasting Sweden’s Niklas Edin 10-7.
The Boost National champion Mouat scored two in the first and four in the third to have a commanding 6-1 lead until Edin responded with a four score of his own in the fourth.
Mouat took back control with a single in five and a steal of two in six. The reigning world champ Edin (1-1) put two on the board in seven to close the gap but Mouat made no mistake with the hammer coming home and tacked on another point.
Edmonton’s Team Brendan Bottcher, with Mick Lizmore subbing at skip, went up to a 2-1 record with a 6-5 win over Saskatoon’s Colton Flasch (1-2).
The Humpty’s Champions Cup features 15 men’s teams and 15 women’s teams that won events over the course of the season in order to qualify for entry. Teams play four round-robin games during the week with the top eight overall advancing to the weekend playoffs.