Brad Gushue overcame a sloppy game to beat Jake Higgs 10-4 at the 2013 Capital One Road to the Roar Olympic pre-trial curling tournament Wednesday.
Gushue scored four in the second end, stole three in the fifth and two more in the sixth against Higgs, from Glencoe, Ont.
The victory moves Gushue’s St. John’s, N.L., rink into Thursday’s A-event final against John Morris’s team from Kelowna, B.C., and Vernon, B.C. Both rinks will play for a berth in Saturday afternoon’s page playoff A-B game.
Gushue said his team did just enough to get past Higgs.
“It was a comedy of errors by both teams,” said the 2006 Olympic gold-medallist. “Fortunately we made them try some pressure shots, and they didn’t pull through. But it was not a well-curled game by either team.”
Morris advanced with a 10-5 win against Greg Balsdon of Elgin, Ont.
Even in a triple-knockout competition, Gushue said he isn’t taking anything for granted against Morris.
“If you win, you’re in great shape,” said Gushue. “You get two cracks (at a Trials berth), and if you lose, you drop back into a B semi, so you’re still two games out and you’ll end up playing some good teams. So it’s a bit of a desperation game. Not do-or-die, but it’s such a big advantage and you want to play hard for it.”
Balsdon and Higgs dropped to the B-Event with the losses.
The women’s A-event final Thursday will feature former world champion Kelly Scott of Kelowna taking on Renee Sonnenberg of Grande Prairie, Alta., with a berth in Saturday’s A-B final on the line.
Scott stole back-to-back points in the sixth and seventh ends to beat Krista McCarville of Thunder Bay, Ont., 6-5.
Sonnenberg broke open a 4-4 game through seven ends by scoring one in the eighth, stealing one in the ninth and three more in the 10th for a 9-4 win over Laura Crocker of Edmonton.
In women’s B-event play, Tracy Horgan of Sudbury, Ont., was a 12-7 winner over Winnipeg’s Barb Spencer. Spencer had taken a 5-3 lead by scoring four in the fifth end, but Horgan immediately bounced back with four in the sixth and never trailed again.
Two curlers from both the men’s and women’s events will earn the final four spots for the Roar of the Rings Canadian Curling Trials next month in Winnipeg.