Ottawa - Mike McEwen decided to give the fans a little show with his last shot Wednesday night, sliding from the hack and doing a 360-degree turn before releasing his stone.
The game was over, except for the handshakes, and McEwen figured he’d draw to the button in style, with a spin-o-rama.
It almost worked, but alas, Gushue stole a point and McEwen didn’t bother with the final end in an 8-3 loss.
Truth is, McEwen was left with a lot of difficult shots all game against Gushue in the Canadian Olympic Trials game at Ottawa’s Canadian Tire Centre.
That’s because the team from St. John’s wasn’t giving the Winnipeg skip much wiggle room.
Gushue improved to 4-2 with the win, while McEwen fell to 4-2 as the two teams find themselves tied for second in the Roar of the Rings standings after 14 draws.
Kevin Koe of Calgary is sailing along at 6-0.
Gushue scored three points in the second end for a 3-0 lead and that, for all intents and purposes, was that.
After McEwen got one in the fourth end, Gushue picked up a deuce in the fifth for a 5-1 lead at the break.
“You can literally say that was the game right there,” McEwen said of the second end.
For the second straight game, Gushue showed signs of returning to the form he was in last spring, when he skipped Mark Nichols, Brett Gallant and Geoff Walker to the Tim Hortons Brier and world championships.
“Brad played phenomenal last night and again tonight,” said Walker. “I like the way we’re headed.”
Gushue acknowledge after his team still isn’t there yet – even during the string of 23 straight wins on the World Curling Tour in the fall – but they’re making headway.
“We’ve been getting better, and more and more comfortable with each game,” he said.
“Mark, in particular, really threw the rock well tonight. Brett’s coming around. I think those two earlier in the week weren’t playing as well as they would have liked. But once we get those guys going, that’s when we can get on the run we had in March and April.”
Wednesday’s win put a little separation between Gushue and the rest of the field. Reid Carruthers of Winnipeg beat John Morris’s B.C. team to improve to 3-3, while earlier in the day, Brendan Bottcher of Edmonton surprised Brad Jacobs of Sault Ste., Marie, Ont. 9-3. The defending Olympic gold-medal skip curled only 59 per cent in the game.
Both Jacobs and Bottcher are now 2-3.
“I thought there’d be a bit of a logjam up front with myself and Mike (McEwen), Jacobs, Koe and Carruthers. You kind of expected it,” Gushue said.
“I wasn’t surprised we were in third at 3-2, though I’m a little surprised Koe is undefeated, catching a few breaks to get maybe a win or two they shouldn’t have gotten.
“I feel good where we are. I’d feel better if I was in Koe’s spot,” he said with a smile.
Gushue has a game against Saskatoon’s Steve Laycock 8:30 tonight (NL time) and a win, he said, will guarantee the team from St. John’s at least a tie-breaker, “from my quick math.
“If we can get some help from Morris against Koe, I still think first place is a possibility.”
Men’s and women’s standings after Draw 14 Wednesday night:
Kevin Koe, 6-0
Brad Gushue, 4-2
Mike McEwen, 4-1
Reid Carruthers, 3-3
Brendan Bottcher, 2-3
Brad Jacobs, 2-3
Steve Laycock, 2-4
John Morris, 1-4
John Epping, 1-4
Chelsea Carey, 5-0
Jennifer Jones, 5-1
Rachel Homan, 5-1
Krista McCarville, 3-2
Val Sweeting, 3-3
Casey Scheidegger, 2-4
Julie Tippin, 1-4
Michelle Englot, 1-4
Allison Flaxey, 0-6