News Masters

Gushue, Schwaller and Ramsfjell qualify for WFG Masters quarterfinals

SASKATOON — It’s the start of something new for Brad Gushue and his St. John’s, N.L., crew in the Grand Slam of Curling.

After having an incredible 27-event playoff streak come to an end last month in the KIOTI National, Gushue is right back in the picture having qualified for the quarterfinals of the WFG Masters.

Gushue advanced with a 3-1 round-robin record following a 5-4 win over Brendan Bottcher’s Calgary-based club during Draw 14 Friday at Merlis Belsher Place.

“I thought the majority of the game we played really well,” said Mark Nichols, who throws third on Team Gushue. “A couple loose shots, but we made the ones that we needed to when it counted. Against a team like that, it’s always good to have hammer coming home in the last end.”

It’s also good to have the hammer to start as Team Gushue outdrew Team Bottcher in the shootout to begin with the last-rock advantage. That allowed Gushue to set the tone and never trail in the back-and-forth battle.

“We had a great draw to the button,” Nichols said. “We haven’t been as good at that through the first few Slams, so it was nice to get hammer to start. When we got that early deuce, we were able to kind of control a little bit, so it was good. Still some stuff to build on going forward.”

WFG Masters: Scores | Shootout Standings | Draw Schedule | Broadcast Schedule

The teams traded deuces in the first couple of ends followed by singles in the third and fourth that had it tied 3-all. The force was strong in this one as Gushue tapped for a point in the sixth and Bottcher drew for just one in the seventh to make it all square 4-4.

That handed the hammer for the final end to Gushue, who didn’t need to throw his last. Gushue sat two in the house and Bottcher was unable to pull off a double for shot rock.

It was the first loss of the week for Bottcher (3-1) as his team had already booked a spot for the playoffs.

Elsewhere, Switzerland’s Team Yannick Schwaller also advanced at 3-1 by defeating Scotland’s Team Ross Whyte 7-4.

Schwaller’s squad rebounded from a disappointing 8-3 loss Thursday to Team Gushue to get back on track.

“If you look at the performance of the whole team, it’s kind of what makes it,” Schwaller said. “It was a strong performance throughout every player, good sweeping and good line-calling. It feels great and I hope we can carry that momentum into the playoffs.”

It was the seventh straight time Schwaller qualified for the playoffs in the Grand Slam of Curling.

“It means a lot to me because I remember back in the days when I was not qualifying seven, eight, nine times in a row, so it’s nice to be on the other end,” Schwaller said with a smile. “It’s just an amazing team and I would love to make a final push this time.”

Whyte wrapped up round-robin play at 2-2 and is still in the mix for now.

Norway’s Team Magnus Ramsfjell (3-1) made the cut with a 4-3 win over Team Korey Dropkin (0-4) of the United States.

Saskatoon’s Team Mike McEwen (2-2) staved off elimination after earning a 7-2 decision against Team Aaron Sluchinski (0-4) of Airdrie, Alta.


The WFG Masters continues with Draw 15 at 4:30 p.m. ET / 3:30 p.m. local time on Sportsnet and Sportsnet+ (Canada) and (international).


The WFG Masters is the third Grand Slam of Curling event of the season featuring 16 of the top men’s teams and 16 of the top women’s teams from around the world. … Teams play four round-robin games each with the preliminary round running through to Friday evening. … The top eight teams in both divisions advance to Saturday’s quarterfinals. If necessary, tiebreakers will be played Saturday morning to determine the final playoff spots. … The semifinals are also scheduled for Saturday with both finals on tap Sunday.