Team Brad Gushue of St. John’s, N.L., kept their undefeated record in the Humpty’s Champions Cup intact to qualify for the playoffs at 3-0.
Gushue scored a deuce in the seventh end and stole a point in the eighth to complete a 6-5 comeback victory over Switzerland’s Team Peter de Cruz during Saturday morning’s action at Calgary’s WinSport Arena.
Seeding for the playoffs is now the focus for Gushue, who has won 11 Pinty’s Grand Slam of Curling men’s titles. Gushue is gunning to keep rolling with one more round-robin game to go against Scotland’s Team Bruce Mouat (3-0) in the evening and the potential to lock up a bye to the semifinals.
Although Gushue started with the hammer, it was De Cruz who opened the scoring stealing two points in the first frame. Gushue got right back into though with a single in two followed by a steal of one in three to turn the tables and make it all square. The teams traded singles back and forth through the fourth and fifth ends to keep it tight tied 3-3. De Cruz, who earned bronze at the men’s worlds this past Sunday, took two points in the sixth before Gushue rallied.
While Gushue is flying high again at 3-0, De Cruz is trending in the opposite direction and has been eliminated from playoff contention at 0-3.
Team Matt Dunstone of Wadena, Sask., are still in it to win it with a 6-5 victory in an extra end over Team Brad Jacobs of Sault Ste. Marie, Ont. Both teams hold 1-2 records and must win their remaining group games to stay in the mix.
RCF’s Team Alina Kovaleva climbed to a 2-1 record with a 9-7 extra-end win over Switzerland’s Team Elena Stern (0-3). Japan’s Team Satsuki Fujisawa got their first win of the tournament with a 5-2 victory over Team Tabitha Peterson of the United States. Both teams are at 1-2.
The Humpty’s Champions Cup is the first of back-to-back Pinty’s Grand Slam of Curling events and features 12 of the top men’s teams and 12 of the top women’s teams from around the world. Six teams in both divisions qualify for the playoffs with the top two receiving byes to the semifinals.
Three round-robin draws remain on tap Saturday with the quarterfinals and semifinals scheduled on Sunday and both finals set for Monday. The Princess Auto Players’ Championship begins Tuesday.
The series is testing a new rule at the Humpty’s Champions Cup called the no tick zone. A rock touching the centre line, in the free guard zone, may not be moved off the centre line by the opposing team until the sixth rock of the end.