The Grand Slam of Curling season got underway with a brand new event – The Tour Challenge – in Paradise NL. By all accounts, the event was a sellout every draw and curling fans were treated to some great early season curling with some tough frosty ice conditions and fog issues!
This event was a new format with a Tier 1 section that had the top 15 men’s and women’s teams, and a Tier 2 section with invited teams across the country, including 5 local men’s and women’s teams. The winners of the men’s and women’s Tier 2 event would be invited to the next GSOC event, which is the Masters in
at the end of October. Truro NS
Hardline was well represented with no less than 13 teams participating, including 9 teams playing the Tier 1 event.
The event marked the debut of Mike McEwen. It was the first time on the ice for this year for the # 1 team in the world and the team that won 8 events last year. Team McEwen went 3-1 in the round robin and qualified for playoffs!
|Mike McEwen (Photo by Anil Mungal - GSOC)|
|Matt Wozniak & Denni Neufeld share a laugh! (Photo by Anil Mungal - GSOC)|
Reid Carruthers had a great round robin at 4-0 and qualified for playoffs.
John Shuster of the
USA also qualified for playoffs at
Hometown favorites Brad Gushue finished the round robin at 3-1 and also qualified for playoffs. So 4 of the 8 men’s playoff teams play Hardline and the icePad!
In quarter final action, a Hardline battle featured the 4-0 Carruthers team vs 2-2 Shuster. In a close game, Shuster broke the game open with a 3 in the 6th end and went on to win 6-4. Brad Gushue won a close game over Glenn Howard 4-2, and Mike McEwen defeated Brad Jacobs 6-1. So for the 2nd week in a row, 3 of the 4 semi finalists were icePad teams!
In one semi, John Shuster ran into a tough Kevin Koe and was beaten 9-2. In the other semi, Brad Gushue faced Mike McEwen in a tight battle. Tied 3-3 after 6 ends, Brad Gushue scored an important deuce in 7 to go ahead 5-3, and when McEwen couldn’t score his 2 in 8th, Gushue was off to the finals to face Koe.
|Team Gushue celebrate a win! (Photo by Anil Mungal - GSOC)|
|Brad Gushue (Photo by Anil Mungal - GSOC)|
The hometown NFLD crowd was definitely behind Brad Gushue the whole way, and the final game was a back and forth affair. It seemed every time Team Gushue would gain an advantage in an end, Koe saved his team by making some great shots including a beautiful draw to the button against 4, and a runback double in the 8th end to hold Gushue to only one point and force the extra end. In the end, Koe had to draw to the 4 foot against two Gushue counters, and won the game.