Gushue wins Brier showdown

TERRY JONES, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 11:12 PM ET

LONDON, Ont. – Poof. There went Kevin Martin's 30-game Tim Horton's Brier winning streak.

The last time the Edmonton skip lost a game at the Brier was 2007 in Hamilton when he said “Poof. The rocks are going poof.”

It was Brad Gushue, the 2006 Olympic gold medal winner ending the 30-game record run of the 2010 Olympic gold medal winner here Monday night on a day to remember at the Tim Hortons Brier.

“It was a good run,” said the 44-year-old Olympic gold and silver medal winning skip who is attempting to become the first skip to win five Briers here this year.

“Brad is a good guy to have it happen to – it had to come to an end sometime.”

The loss left Martin with a 101-30 all time record for the event and Gushue put an exclamation mark on it when he scored three on the ninth end and watched Martin rip the Velcro and shake hands, conceding a 9-4 victory for the Newfoundland team which moved into a tie with Alberta and Ontario's Glenn Howard with 4-1 records behind 5-0 Jeff Stoughton on a very eventful day at the Brier.

Martin's last Brier loss was to the aforementioned Stoughton in the 3-4 playoff game of the Hamilton Brier.

It all started for Martin after he'd forced Gushue to take one with hammer in the opening end. But in the 44-year-old skip was heavy and wide on a last rock draw to give the Newfoundland crew a steal of two and a 3-0 lead that turned into a 4-0 lead when he botched a run back double.

“It was that second end,” said Martin, who had scored a 9-2 win over Prince Edward Island in the morning.

“I made a bad decision with my first rock. If I'd played it so I would have taken the one ... but I'm so used to drawing my way out of situations and you don't give Brad Gushue a 3-0 and 4-0 lead and expect to win the game.”

Gushue has had his struggles this year including a messy breakup with four-time Brier winning skip Randy Ferbey of Edmonton and the announcement by third Mark Nichols that he'd be leaving the team at the end of the year.

“That's as good as I've felt here,” said Gushue.

“It's a big boost to our confidence. It's great to go out and beat him and beat him by a good number.”

Gushue, who beat Martin four times during his Olympic season on the cash tour, marveled at the run he's had.

“He's been unbelievable. It sucks that I'm playing at the same time in my career that Kevin Martin is winning everything.”

It was such an eventful day that Gushue might end up remembering his morning game almost as well as the nightcap because of the way he won a game which, almost certainly he otherwise would have lost.

Pat Simmons of Saskatchewan had a hog line violation and the red light showed up on the handle of his rock.

“Understandable,” said a scribe. “There are no red lights in Saskatchewan.”

Simmons, who throws last rock for Steve Laycock's team, instantly became the biggest goat in Saskatchewan sports since the 13th man cost the Roughriders the 2009 Grey Cup game in Calgary.

“We might not have been able to score if he makes that absolutely perfect,”

said Gushue.

“Worst case, I'm going to be making a quiet come around tap back against five.”

Instead it was a draw for three.

“That was a big break for us. In the eight Briers I've been to, that's the first time someone's done that against us, so it was a pretty opportune time for us,” said Gushue.

It wasn't a first for Simmons. It was a second.

“Over the thousands of rocks I've thrown, that was the second time in my life,” said the 36-year-old Moose Jaw chiropractor.

“It was an easy double. Half a rock, give or take an inch.

“I was shocked.

“I didn't really expect that.

“I feel bad about it.

“It was huge. From showing him a half-rock on the button and lying four or five to a free draw for three?

“He'd have had a tough shot for the one!”

Simmons came up a hair short with a last rock draw against two on the 10th which required a measurement in losing 7-6 to Nova Scotia and drop to 2-3.

“The whole day didn't go well,” he said. “It sucks to be me right now, I guess.”

For Kevin Martin, it was just a loss of a game.

For Pat Simmons it was letting down a en entire province.


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