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Morris hands Gushue 1st loss, playoffs next at Grand Slam National

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.

Playoffs set to begin Saturday

British Columbia skip John Morris, pictured earlier this year at the Tim Hortons Brier, picked up his first win at the Grand Slam National over the previously undefeated Brad Gushue. (Andrew Vaughan/The Canadian Press)

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.

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