Road To The Olympic Games

Gushue ends Martin's record streak at Brier

Kevin Martin suffered his first defeat at the Brier in a long time. The Alberta skip dropped a 9-4 decision to Newfoundland and Labrador's Brad Gushue, snapping Martin's 30-game winning streak at the event.

Stoughton's rink remains undefeated at 5-0

Alberta skip Kevin Martin's record 30-game winning streak at the Tim Hortons Brier is over.

And it was a fellow Olympic gold medallist who ended it.

Brad Gushue of Newfoundland and Labrador defeated Martin 9-4 at the John Labatt Centre on Monday night. Gushue scored three points in the eighth end and Alberta conceded the game.

"If we're going to go out, we might as well go out quick," Martin said with a laugh.

Gushue won gold at the 2006 Olympic Games in Turin while Martin won the Olympic title last year at the Vancouver Games. Martin ran the table during his last two Brier appearances in 2008 and 2009.

"They've been winning everything and sometimes it feels like you're fighting for second place at times," Gushue said. "But we're here to win this week and hopefully we can step it up even another notch from where we were today."

Martin seemed quite comfortable after the loss.

"It has to come an end at some point and 30 is a nice round number," he said.

He also gave credit to Gushue, who is looking for his first Brier victory.

"If somebody curls better than us — and they did — it's OK to lose," Martin said. "I've always said that."

Manitoba's Jeff Stoughton is on top of the standings at 5-0 after eight draws of round-robin play. Gushue moved into a tie with Martin and Ontario's Glenn Howard, a 12-4 winner over Quebec, at 4-1. Stoughton beat Brad Jacobs of Northern Ontario 8-4 in his only game of the day.

"We're just having a good time out there and soaking it all up," Stoughton said. "I think it helps when you're winning obviously. But we feel good, we feel that when we go out on the ice that we're going to win.

"It's a really good feeling."   

In the other late games, Jacobs bounced back with a 7-5 win over Jim Cotter of B.C., while Nova Scotia's Shawn Adams edged Steve Laycock of Saskatchewan 7-6.

Earlier, Martin beat Prince Edward Island 9-2 while Gushue scored three in the third end and held off a rally by Saskatchewan to win 7-6. Howard scored three in the second end and never relinquished the lead in a 7-5 victory over British Columbia.

Longshot for playoffs

There's a six-way tie for fifth place. Saskatchewan, Northern Ontario, Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, Quebec and Northwest Territories/Yukon are at 2-3. British Columbia is next at 1-4 and Prince Edward Island is last at 0-5.

The Quebec team knows it's a longshot to reach the playoffs, but skip Francois Gagne is enjoying his Brier debut with a team that's pumping up the volume and bringing a touch of style to the event.

Team third Robert Desjardins bellows so loud on the ice you can hear him in the far reaches of the arena. Lead Philippe Menard wears a blue bandanna, one of the few curlers to stray from the standard look. Second Christian Bouchard looks hip in his trendy sneakers and they all wear baby blue belts with shiny silver buckles.

They play with energy and passion and they're enjoying their first men's national curling championship together.

"The people who are fans of curling like it when players show their emotion and show some different styles," Gagne said. "If we all look the same, we miss some colour in curling. We need that I think. I'm not doing it on purpose, I'm doing it because I'm like that.

"I think people must let go of their emotion on the ice. Every sport needs that."

Quebec dropped a 7-5 decision to New Brunswick on Monday afternoon before falling to Howard in the evening. Quebec still has to play the big guns from Alberta, Newfoundland and Labrador and Manitoba.

Gagne is hoping to take advantage of the fact his opponents are not familiar with the Quebec team.

"It's the perfect position when you're the underdog and people don't know you very much," Gagne said. "We have the tools to fight these guys, we have the tools to beat these guys."

The Quebec rink's camaraderie is evident. The players exchanged funky handshakes -- complete with fist touches -- before their game against Ontario.

"We love to have fun," said Bouchard. "We're ourselves. What you see on the ice is what we are off the ice."

P.E.I. skip Eddie MacKenzie, meanwhile, is still looking for his first win of the round robin. 

"We're just a little off this week," MacKenzie said. "Some of the games are the wrong side of the foot, not just the wrong side of the inch."

There are 12 teams competing in the round robin. Four teams will qualify for the Page Playoff with the final set for Sunday.

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