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Gushue tops Mouat in National men’s final to win 12th GSOC title

CHESTERMERE, Alta. — Brad Gushue captured his 12th career Pinty’s Grand Slam of Curling men’s title after defeating Bruce Mouat 5-2 Sunday to win the Boost National.

The St. John’s, N.L., crew of Gushue, third Mark Nichols, second Brett Gallant and Geoff Walker collected $33,000, 12 Pinty’s Cup points and a spot in the season-ending KIOTI Tractor Champions Cup in May.

Gushue said it felt great to win after sitting on No. 11 for a few years, although the pandemic played a part in his hiatus from the winner’s circle. Team Gushue kicked off the quadrennial claiming the Elite 10 in September 2018 and finished runners-up in three GSOC events since.

“It’s nice to pull it out,” Gushue said. “It was a tough battle. Bruce and his team have been playing so well over the last year. It took our best game of the week and fortunately, we picked a good time to do it.”  

The 2006 Olympic gold medallist Gushue now prepares to represent Canada once again with the Olympic trials taking place in Saskatoon in two weeks.

“We were really solid,” said Gushue, who outshot Mouat at the skip position 94 to 91. “Mark’s played great all week and that continued today. Both Brett and I stepped up our game today and Geoff played well again.

“It was a good team effort and that’s the biggest confidence boost going into the (Olympic) trials. Not so much winning this event but putting a game like that together, it shows what we’re capable of. If we can do that each and every game there, we’re going to give ourselves a good chance.”

Team Gushue, who ran through the tournament undefeated at 6-0, also played solid defence all week giving up only 19 points, holding their opponents to 14 singles and just one deuce and one three-ender.

“The one thing that I think I did really well this week was staying patient and manage the game very well knowing I wasn’t playing my best and Brett was having some struggles,” Gushue said. “I think we managed our game really good and never got in a situation where we could give up a big end. We felt like if we did give up a deuce, we could at least still keep ourselves in the game.

“That was the key. When you’re not playing your best, you just try and keep things a little more simple.”

It was evenly matched with Team Gushue shooting 95 per cent and Team Mouat at 96 per cent as a unit. Gushue broke a 1-1 tie in the sixth end with a nearly flat double across the four-foot circle to score a decisive deuce.

Mouat, who won the past three GSOC men’s titles consecutively, sat shot rock trapped on the button in the seventh but was not content with settling for a single. He was able to bump Gushue’s rock, however, Mouat was unable to spin his shooter far enough into the button to out-count it for two.

That gave Gushue the hammer heading home in the eighth end with a one-point lead, and he secured the title with a short runback double takeout to tack two more points on the board.

The Scottish foursome of Mouat, third Grant Hardie, second Bobby Lammie and lead Hammy McMillan Jr., cashed in $20,000 and nine Pinty’s Cup points as runners-up.

The Pinty’s Cup is awarded to the season champions in the series following the conclusion of the Princess Auto Players’ Championship in April.

Sweden’s Team Anna Hasselborg captured their sixth GSOC women’s title together. Hasselborg scored four in the third end and fended off a furious rally from Team Tracy Fleury of East St. Paul, Man., to win 9-6 in an extra end during the women’s final.