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Team Canada skip Brad Gushue delivers a rock as they play Nova Scotia at the Tim Hortons Brier at the Brandt Centre, in Regina, on March 6, 2018.Andrew Vaughan

Brad Gushue and his Team Canada rink improved to 5-0 at the 2018 Tim Hortons Brier with a 9-5 win over Nova Scotia in Tuesday's afternoon draw.

The defending Canadian men's curling champions scored two points in the seventh end and wrapped up the win with two more in the ninth after Jamie Murphy and his Halifax rink held Gushue to task for much of the game.

Gushue maintained first place in Pool A over Alberta and the wild-card team, tied for second at 4-1.

"It was a good game. I thought we played pretty solid, a couple little mistakes that we need to clean up but I like how our team is throwing it and we are looking forward to tomorrow," Gushue said. "Two games so we'll rest up tonight, get a good dinner and be ready to go."

Wild-card skip Mike McEwen and his Winnipeg-based team came back from a 6-5 loss to Gushue in Monday's final draw with a 10-3 victory in eight ends over Northwest Territories (2-3). McEwen capitalized on the mistakes by Yellowknife skip Jamie Koe, who struggled with the ice early in the game.

Alberta was under pressure to keep pace with the leaders, and Edmonton's Brendan Bottcher delivered with a 7-5 win over Yukon. Bottcher plays Gushue and McEwen on Wednesday.

Elsewhere, British Columbia defeated Newfoundland and Labrador 12-6. Both teams finished the day tied at 1-4.

St. John's skip Greg Smith gave Newfoundland and Labrador a big lead with one in the first and a steal of three in the second. But Kelowna's Sean Geall responded with nine points over the next three ends.

The 21-year-old Smith, known to wear his emotions on his sleeve, started to get visibly frustrated as he allowed Geall to score three in the third, setting up steals of two and four over the next two frames.

With a new format that includes a wild-card team for the first time, Gushue said he altered his approach a little at this Brier.

"I believe we did a little bit, or me personally," he said. "I took it a little lighter early on in the week, especially this year with the two Olympic trials and a big push, there's a burnout factor that you have to take into account. From an intensity standpoint, we are starting to ramp it up."

"Obviously the game last night against Mike, we were at 100 per cent and I expect we are going to be close to that now for the remainder of the week but certainly at the beginning we kind of eased our way into it and come Thursday or Friday we're going to have to be firing on all cylinders when we play Jacobs and Carruthers and Laycock and Epping."

Gushue was the only undefeated skip remaining in Regina after Manitoba and Northern Ontario suffered losses in Tuesday's early draw.

Manitoba skip Reid Carruthers suffered his first loss in a 10-5 defeat to Ontario's John Epping.

Epping's Toronto rink used a huge five-point ninth end to move into a tie for first in Pool B at 4-1 with Winnipeg's Carruthers and Brad Jacobs of Sault Ste. Marie, Ont.

Jacobs suffered his first loss when he fell 8-4 to host Saskatchewan. Steve Laycock's team opened the scoring with four in the second end and added a three-point fifth end en route to improving its record to 3-2.

In other Draw 9 action, Quebec (2-3) opened with three in the first end and stole two in the second en route to an 8-3 victory over Nunavut (0-5), and New Brunswick (2-3) scored three in the ninth end and stole two in the 10th in a 9-6 come-from-behind win over Prince Edward Island (1-4).

The Pool B teams returned to the ice for Tuesday's late draw.

Canadian para hockey goalie Dominic Larocque says despite being a forward for years, he always dreamed of playing in net. The Afghanistan veteran says the team is aiming for gold at the Pyeongchang Paralympics.

The Canadian Press

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