Brad Gushue's Team N.L. earns Brier title with electrifying win in front of hometown crowd
Mile One crowd erupts as Team N.L. delivers long-awaited title
Team Newfoundland and Labrador are the 2017 Tim Hortons Brier champs, fulfilling a career-long dream for skip Brad Gushue and his rink.
Team N.L — skip Brad Gushue, third Mark Nichols, second Brett Gallant, and lead Geoff Walker — beat Kevin Koe's Team Canada 7-6 at Mile One Centre on Sunday night.
NEWFOUNDLAND AND LABRADOR ARE BRIER CHAMPIONS. <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/cbccurl?src=hash">#cbccurl</a> <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/Brier2017?src=hash">#Brier2017</a> <a href="https://twitter.com/cbcsports">@cbcsports</a> <a href="https://twitter.com/CBCNL">@CBCNL</a> <a href="https://t.co/Kf1LeENoR9">pic.twitter.com/Kf1LeENoR9</a>—@Devin_Heroux
It's the first Brier title, in 14 appearances, for Gushue, who drew for one point — and the win — with the last rock of the final end in an electrifying finale to the tournament.
"I threw that a little lighter than what I wanted, but when it was coming down, it looked like it was always going to be there, and it only got there by a little bit," he said after the victory.
"To make a shot to win the Brier, and to hear this crowd, just incredible. It's been a special week."
Gushue credited his team for working hard for the victory, and praised Koe as a tough opponent.
"The shot he made six for three was incredible," he said. "He didn't miss much coming down the stretch."
Gushue threw his broom in the air as a full house in the St. John's stadium erupted in applause in the final moments of the game.
YESSSSSSS <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/Brier2017?src=hash">#Brier2017</a> <a href="https://t.co/632LVq282R">pic.twitter.com/632LVq282R</a>—@PeterCBC
The match saw Gushue's and Koe's rinks trading punches throughout, matching each other shot for improbable shot.
Team N.L. struck first with three points in the second end, but Koe took one in the fourth. Gushue drew for two in the fifth, but Team Canada landed a triple takeout in the sixth end to pull within one point of N.L. and then tied it at 5-5 in the seventh.
The teams traded singles in the eighth and ninth ends and heading for the final end tied 6-6, setting the stage for the dramatic victory that sent the Mile One crowd into a frenzy.
Rematch from last year
The Brier finale was a rematch between Koe and Gushue, two longtime rivals who squared off in last year's final, with Koe coming out on top for his third tankard.
The Gushue rink sailed into the Brier finale on Friday night, with Koe earning a berth on Saturday.
Track the match in our live blog, which provided stone-by-stone coverage of the championship game.