ST. JOHN’S – If Mike McEwen wants to win his first Brier, he’s going to have to do it the hard way.
Manitoba dropped the 1-2 page playoff game 7-5 Friday night to hometown favourite Brad Gushue. The Newfoundland and Labrador team now advances to Sunday’s final while Manitoba has to play in tonight’s semifinal.
Gushue’s team just flat out played better than Manitoba, taking a 4-2 lead in the 4th and never relinquishing it in front of what was another impressively rowdy crowd in St. John’s.
Despite the loss, McEwen is happy with his team’s performance.
“Threw a lot of quality shots out there, but margins of error were so small with how well they were playing. We were going to have to we very close to perfect to beat them tonight. We certainly weren’t dictating the game because they were playing so well from lead to skip.”
The biggest disparity was at skip, as Gushue outcurled McEwen 95 per cent to 76. But the Manitoba skip still feels good about his teams chances of lifting the Tankard Sunday night.
“I’m really not that worried. Some of the throws I saw out there from the guys in front of me, there was a lot of quality. I think this was a really good test for us to see how comfortable we are in this environment, and I’ve never felt better in a big game.”
McEwen will now play in the semifinal at 5:30 p.m. against either Kevin Koe or Brad Jacobs, who meet in the 3-4 game at 12:30.
Gushue goes straight through to tomorrow’s final, in what will be a true road game for whoever is their opponent.