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Team Gushue turns heated words into a cool performance

Brad Gushue and his Newfoundland and Labrador teammates had a talk they’ve never had before this season and then turned their words into action Tuesday night at Mile One Centre.

Newfoundland and Labrador third Mark Nichols shouts to the sweepers as Brad Gushue's final stone draws to the button for second shot in the eighth end of the Tuesday night draw of the Brier at Mile One Centre.

Coming off an 8-4 morning loss to the Northwest Territories, Gushue suggested he and his team would need to “come out angry” for their next game that night against Northern Ontario.
Actually, they looked pretty cool as they improved their record to 4-2 with a 7-5 win over Brad Jacobs and Northern Ontario, another one of the favourites at the Brier in St. John’s.
Not that there wasn’t emotion in the building, generated by another capacity crowd which knew the importance of the game. A loss would have dropped Newfoundland to 3-3 and into seventh place in the 12-team field, well out of a playoff position.
As it is, Newfoundland sits in a tie for third with Team Canada and Quebec, behind Manitoba (5-1) and Northern Ontario (5-2).
The bounce-back game came after what the Newfoundland skip described as the kind of meeting — a heated one from all indications — that the team rarely conducts.
“A little bit of raising the voice,” answered Gushue with a chuckle when asked what had taken place between the morning loss and the night-time win, one that he suggested was the team’s biggest of this curling season.
“I kind of lit a fire under the guys and I had to lead by example. We couldn’t afford to lose that game … or we’re fighting for our lives the rest of the week.”
Newfoundland also found some fortune in Tuesday night’s game and it came as the result of an opponent’s misfortune.
In the fifth end, with the score tied 2-2 and Gushue holding last-rock advantage, Northern Ontario lead Ryan Harnden stumbled and fell while sweeping skip Brad Jacobs’ last shot of the end, an attempted takeout of a Newfoundland counter, the lone stone in the rings. In doing so, he touched the rock — in curling parlance, he “burned” it — meaning it didn’t count.
Had that not happened, there almost certainly would been a third straight blank end and the score would have remained tied at the midway point. Instead, Gushue was left with an easy draw for two to take a lead that was never relinquished.
Newfoundland has two more big games Wednesday, facing John Morris and B.C. at 3 p.m., followed by a night draw contest against Jean-Michel Menard and Quebec at 8 p.m.
In other scores in Tuesday’s late draw, Mike McEwen and his Manitobans suffered their first loss, ripped up 7-5 by British Columbia (4-3); Saskatchewan (4-3) handed Brier veteran Glenn Howard and his Ontario rink a devestating fifth loss, getting a five-ender in a 9-5 decision, while Kevin Koe and Team Canada lost to fellow Albertans as Brendan Bottcher (3-4) came up with a 6-4 victory.

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