Gushue routs Paterson to even record at GSOC Boost National

Brad Gushue shoots a stone during the fifth round-robin draw of the Boost National on Dec. 12, 2018, in Conception Bay South, N.L. (Anil Mungal)

CONCEPTION BAY SOUTH, N.L. — Home-province heroes Team Brad Gushue bounced back big time at the Boost National.

The St. John’s crew drew their record level to 1-1 at the Pinty’s Grand Slam of Curling event cruising past Scotland’s Team Ross Paterson 8-1 Wednesday night. Gushue, a winner of 11 titles in the series, dropped his opener Tuesday in an extra end to Switzerland’s Yannick Schwaller.

Team Gushue brought their A-game shooting 99 per cent overall with both their skip and third Mark Nichols throwing perfect games.

“It was an important bounce back for us,” Gushue said. “We had a rough game last night. It looked like we might squeak it out but they made a great shot to beat us. To come back today and play as good as we did, it’s a good sign.”

Not even wild weather would stop Gushue’s local fans from coming out to CBS Arena and showing their support as they packed the house for another night.

“We had a bit of a storm and to see a full house here tonight, I’m pretty proud of what the community of CBS has done and what the province of Newfoundland has done for this event,” Gushue said. “They supported it by selling it out in two or three days. It’s great for the community. It’s great for us as Team Gushue and as Grand Slam curlers to come and see a full house when we curl. It’s a lot of fun.”

Gushue electrified the crowd early with an in-off to score a deuce in the first frame and set the tone for the game.

“We made a big in-off there to get a deuce and get the crowd cheering,” Gushue said. “They didn’t have much to cheer about last night and certainly nice to get off to a good start. We made a lot of good shots today and got the crowd behind us, which is always a good feeling.”

Paterson, who also now sits at 1-1, struggled to find his groove giving up a steal of one in the third and a huge three-spot in the fourth to trail 6-0 at the break.

Even with the six-point advantage, Gushue didn’t ease off of the gas pedal as it wasn’t leaving anything to chance knowing there was still potentially half a game to go and Paterson had plenty of time to mount a comeback.

“With the five-rock rule, you’re not safe even if you’re up four or five points,” Gushue said. “We had one end there where it looked like they might get three. We had some good shots to get out of it but it’s a scary situation when you’re up three or four and you miss a shot because they can score three back on you pretty quick.”

A single in the fifth for Paterson broke the shutout, however, Gushue hit for two more points in the sixth that iced the game.

Tour Challenge champs Team Brad Jacobs from Sault Ste. Marie, Ont., climbed to a 2-0 record with a 7-3 victory over Winnipeg’s Team Braden Calvert (0-2).

Sweden’s Team Niklas Edin also moved up to 2-0 with a 5-4 win against Winnipeg’s Team Reid Carruthers (1-1).

Saskatoon’s Team Kirk Muyres stole singles in seven and eight to defeat Team Glenn Howard (1-0) of Penetanguishene, Ont., 6-4. Both teams are even with 1-1 records.

In women’s action, Ottawa’s Team Rachel Homan (2-0) made it a two-win Wednesday with a 6-3 set over Toronto’s Team Jacqueline Harrison (0-2). Homan, who captured her eighth GSOC title at last month’s Tour Challenge, also beat Team Casey Scheidegger in the early afternoon.

The Boost National is the fourth event and second major of the 2018-19 Pinty’s Grand Slam of Curling season featuring 15 of the top men’s teams and 15 of the top women’s teams from around the world.

Both divisions are split into three pools for round-robin play with the top eight teams overall qualifying for Saturday’s quarterfinals. The semis are also set for Saturday with both finals taking place Sunday.

Round-robin play resumes Thursday at 9 a.m. local time.

Broadcast coverage begins Thursday at 11 a.m. ET / 8 a.m. PT on Sportsnet and streaming online at Sportsnet NOW (Canada) and Yare (international).

NOTES: Winners of the Boost National collect $30,000 of the $250,000 total purse plus berths to the Pinty’s Grand Slam of Curling season finale Humpty’s Champions Cup. … Points are also on the line for the Pinty’s Cup, which is awarded to the overall season champions following the conclusion of the Players’ Championship in April. … All games are played to eight ends with 33 minutes of thinking time plus two, 90-second timeouts. The five-rock rule is also in effect.

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