Brier: McEwen, Sturmay and Carruthers post key wins

London, Ontario. –

The favorite is in top form at the Canadian Men’s Curling Championship. As the final few round-robin draws approached, the real battle was building around the playoff cutline.

Northern Ontario’s Tanner Hogan (5-1) was a good bet to make a three-team cut for Pool A, along with Alberta’s Kevin Coe (6-0) and Manitoba’s Matt Dunston (6-0).

Wild Card 2 Reed Carruthers defeated Nova Scotia’s Matthew Manuel 6-2 on Wednesday afternoon to put both teams in 3-3 must-win mode.

“There are a lot of newbies here and a lot of mid-tier teams that are struggling and battling each other,” Manuel said.

As in Pool A, the top two seeds were 1-2 in Pool B and advanced to the evening draw at Budweiser Gardens.

Wild card 1 Brendan Bocher (6-1) and Canada’s Brad Gushew (5-1) edged Ontario’s Mike McEwen and Quebec’s Felix Asselin 4-2.

Asselin needed an extra end to beat BC’s Jacques Gauthier 7-6 in the morning, while McEwen kept pace with a 11-4 win over New Brunswick’s Scott Jones in the afternoon.

Wild card 3 Kirsten Sturmay was also mixed 3-3 after a 9-4 win over Prince Edward Island’s Tyler Smith.

“He positioned the draw well, put pressure on him and let him shoot tough,” Sturmay said. “If we keep doing that, I think we have a good chance.”

Round-robin play concludes Thursday with three draws. If you want a tiebreaker, it will be on Friday morning.

Hogan put pressure on Manuel and Carruthers in a showdown with a 9-3 victory over Kerry Knapp of Saskatchewan in the morning. Carruthers scored the only deuce in the sixth end of his 6–2 win.

“We could win, but we might not win yet,” Carruthers said. “Unfortunately, with the losses piling up, we’re going to need some help to seize the opportunity.”

Botcher was ahead of Gushue with a 10-6 win over Yukon’s Thomas Scofin. Dunston had a featured match-up of the night with Coe after his 13-3 win over Nathan Young of Newfoundland and Labrador.

Northwest Territories’ Jamie Coe earned his first win with a 9-3 win over Nunavut’s Jake Higgs.

In the event of a tie in the pool standings at the conclusion of round robin play, the 1-1 result will be the first tiebreaker. In the event of a tie between two or more teams, the game win/loss records between those links will be used.

The next tiebreaker is cumulative draw shot distance.

“We are fighters, whatever the situation,” said Manuel. “We want to win every game. We will fight to the end.”

The Page playoff qualifier was set for Friday afternoon, ahead of the evening’s seeding games. The Page playoffs are scheduled for Saturday, with the semi-finals and finals on Sunday.

The winning team will represent Canada at the World Men’s Curling Championship April 1-9 in Ottawa.

This report by the Canadian Press was first published on March 8, 2023.

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