Morris hands Gushue 1st loss, playoffs next at Grand Slam National
Playoffs set to begin Saturday
Brad Gushue of St. John's, N.L. suffered his first loss at the National, falling 5-2 to John Morris of Vernon, B.C., on Friday in their final round-robin game.
The loss dropped Gushue to 3-1 — still good for first place in Pool A and a guaranteed playoff spot — while handing him his first defeat of this season at a Grand Slam of Curling event. Gushue went unbeaten to win both the season-opening Tour Challenge in September and the Masters last month.
Morris (1-3), shooting 84 per cent to Gushue's 74, scored singles in the first and second end and a deuce in the fifth. He sealed the win with a single in the seventh.
Winnipeg's Jason Gunnlaughson is the last remaining undefeated skip on the men's side. He improved to 4-0 in Pool B with a 10-7 extra-end victory over Scotland's Greg Drummond. Gunnlaughson will be the top seed in the playoffs, which begin Saturday.
Reid Carruthers of Winnipeg and Chang-Min Kim of South Korea topped Pool C at 3-1.
Carruthers edged Winnipeg's Pat Simmons 6-5 to secure a playoff berth. Simmons (2-2) played Toronto's John Epping in a tiebreaker later Friday.
Winnipeg's Mike McEwen and Greg Balsdon of Kingston, Ont., also needed a tiebreaking after both closed round-robin play at 2-2.
Three skips on the women's side are undefeated heading into Saturday's playoffs.
Tracy Fleury of Sudbury, Ont., and Edmonton's Val Sweeting did not play Friday. Winnipeg's Jennifer Jones improved to 4-0 by doubling up Casey Scheidegger (3-1) of Lethbridge, Alta., 8-4 in the afternoon draw.
In other afternoon play, Ottawa's Rachel Homan (3-1) edged Winnipeg's Michelle Englot 6-5, Calgary's Chelsea Carey (2-2) beat Allison Flaxey of Caledon, Ont., 11-5, and Switzerland's Alina Paetz (2-2) defeated Julie Tippin of Woodstock, Ont., 9-7.