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Dunstone upends Ramsfjell to open with win at HearingLife Tour Challenge

NIAGARA FALLS, Ont. — Winnipeg’s Team Matt Dunstone picked up a win to wrap up the opening day of round-robin play in the HearingLife Tour Challenge.

Dunstone doubled up on Norway’s Team Magnus Ramsfjell 6-3 during the fourth draw Tuesday evening at the Gale Centre.

“In these events, it’s huge to start off with a 1-0 record,” said Dunstone, who shot 83 per cent in the game. “It kind of puts you in the driver’s seat going forward. Hopefully, we clean it up a little bit tomorrow. Myself, just a little sloppy tonight but to be able to get away with a dub, it’s a good feeling and it’s nice to be back at the Slams.”

Ramsfjell, who struggled at a 55 per cent pace, started strong securing the hammer to start the match and converting to score a deuce in the opening end. Dunstone regrouped with a strong second end though and capped it with an open hit to score three and take control of the game.

“That example in the second end there is kind of what this team is all about, how resilient we are,” Dunstone said. “We take great pride in that part of our game. Obviously, we’d like to start a little bit better but that ability to come back and answer, that’s big to get you back in the game after not starting the event like you wanted to. That’s what this team is all about.”

A misfire from Ramsfjell in the fourth end allowed Dunstone to steal a point and build a 4-2 cushion heading into the halftime break. Ramsfjell ran back his guard but missed Dunstone’s shot rock completely.

After the teams alternated singles, Dunstone swiped another point in the seventh after Ramsfjell attempted a long angle raise that wrecked on his own guard. Ramsfjell didn’t get a chance to throw his last in the eighth as Dunstone ran him out of rocks.

It was a renewed rivalry as Dunstone and Ramsfjell first faced off at the 2016 world junior championships. Not only are they now duking it out on the Grand Slam of Curling circuit all of these years later, but so too are others from their class like Korey Dropkin and Yannick Schwaller, who happened to be playing against each other on the adjacent sheet.

“It seems like the entire 2016 junior field is in the Slams now,” Dunstone said. “It’s great to see. It’s probably five or six other teams now that we would have played in that junior. Been seeing them for a while and we’re going to be seeing them for a lot longer.” 

Elsewhere, Calgary’s Team Brendan Bottcher fended off Team Wouter Gosgens from the Netherlands 4-3. Bottcher blanked the first three ends before settling for a single in the fourth then built a 4-0 advantage thanks to a steal of one in the fifth and two in the sixth. Gosgens got on the board with a deuce in the seventh and sat three counters in the eighth, but Bottcher was able to only concede one to hang for the victory.

“It was important to stick it out and get the win,” Team Bottcher second Brett Gallant said. “It wasn’t our tidiest game, and we just were struggling a little bit to get a handle on the ice. But we gave skipper an open look on his last one and he made it go away, so that was a great job on his last.”

Team Bottcher has won three titles on tour already this season and just claimed the No. 1 ranking in the world. Still, Gallant believes although they’re playing well, they could be better.

“We haven’t all had our A-game at the exact same time yet, so that means I think there’s still a little room to improve,” Gallant said. “But we’re really getting the most out of ourselves and it’s turning into a lot of wins for us, so that’s good. It’s still early in the year but we’ve had a great start.

“We couldn’t ask really for a better start than we had. We’re just trying to build on a hot start and know there’s still room to get a little bit better.”

Team Brad Gushue of St. John’s, N.L., rolled past Team Aaron Sluchinski from Airdrie, Alta., 8-2. Gushue scored three points in the first, four in the third and added a steal in the fourth while limiting Sluchinski to singles in the second and fifth.

Team Korey Dropkin of the United States counted three in the sixth and stole two in the seventh during an 8-3 victory over Switzerland’s Team Yannick Schwaller.

HEARINGLIFE TOUR CHALLENGE: Scores/Standings | Draw Schedule | Broadcast Schedule


• Team Corrie Huerlimann 7, Team Jolene Campbell 3

• Team Nancy Martin 6, Team Ikue Kitazawa 2

• Team Isabelle Ladouceur 7, Team Serena Gray-Withers 3

• Team Madeleine Dupont 8, Team EunJung Kim 4


The HearingLife Tour Challenge resumes Wednesday with Draw 5 at 8 a.m. local time. Ticket information is available at

Broadcast coverage begins with Draw 10 Thursday at 11:30 a.m. ET / 8:30 a.m. PT on Sportsnet and streaming online at Sportsnet+ (Canada) and Yare (international).


The HearingLife Tour Challenge is the first Grand Slam of Curling event of the season with 32 men’s teams and 32 women’s teams in two tiers of action. Tier 1 features the top teams from around the world while Tier 2 features the next ranked group of teams looking to move up the ranks. … Round-robin play runs through to Friday with the top eight teams in each division qualifying for the playoffs. … The quarterfinals and semifinals are scheduled for Saturday with the finals set for Sunday.