Posted at 11:53 pm on March 7, 2013
Newfoundland and Labrador started this year’s Tim Hortons Brier with an amazing 7-0 record. They’ve been displaying some of their best curling as a team. But after posting a second consecutive loss on Thursday afternoon, could Gushue’s young team be starting to crack?
Whenever a team goes on a seven game run, everyone knows it has to end some time. In the case of Brad Gushue and his Newfoundland team, that run came to an end Wednesday night against Jeff Stoughton. They didn’t have any time to recover from the loss, as their grueling schedule had them paired up against reigning champion Glenn Howard of Ontario next.
Gushue put on a great showing in the game against Howard. The Newfoundland boys demonstrated their mental toughness by shaking off the loss from the night before. They kept pace with Team Ontario right to the final end, holding their own against one of the strongest teams in modern curling history.
With the game tied 5-5 in the tenth end, Howard held the hammer. This is an ideal situation for any skip. A veteran like Howard did not waste the opportunity, and stuck his last shot to get a single point and win the game. Team Ontario remains perfect at 8 wins and 0 losses.
With the playoff looming only a day away, Newfoundland is headed in the wrong direction. Despite their high ranking in the Brier standings, they need to quickly get back to their winning ways. After suffering back-to-back losses in very tight games, it would be easy for frustration to set in on the young additions to Gushue’s team.
Though they only have two games remaining on their round robin schedule, Newfoundland still has some tough games left. They will be facing Kevin Martin of Team Alberta and Jean-Michel Ménard of Quebec. Menard has had a great Brier so far, sitting near the top of the standings all week. Martin, however, has had a very disappointing Brier this year, but remains a dangerous opponent.
Having started the Brier with a 7-0 record, the playoffs looked like a sure thing for Newfoundland. But with such a difficult end to the week, Gushue will need to be careful if he wants to avoid one of the biggest melt downs in Brier history.