Team Wild Card Two Skip Kevin Koe reacts to his shot as he plays Team Newfoundland and Labrador at Brier in Calgary, Alta March 2021THE CANADIAN PRESS / Jeff McIntosh

CALGARY – Kevin Koe’s Wild Card Two team defeated Canada’s Brad Gushue 9-7 on Sunday night to give the defending champions their first loss in the Canadian Men’s Curling Championship

Koe put one home with a hammer and exerted pressure by betting three. Gushue was a bit tough with his last draw and Koe sought it out for the win

Koe improved to 4-0 after seven draws in the WinSport Arena, while Gushue fell to 2-1

In other late games, Quebec’s Michael Fournier defeated Prince Edward Island’s Eddie MacKenzie 10-4, Ontario’s John Epping defeated Nunavut’s Peter Mackey 16-1 and Nova Scotia’s Scott McDonald defeated Newfoundland and Labrador’s Greg Smith 11: 4

Koe hopes to win a record title in Tim Horton’s Brier’s fifth career as Skip Gushue of St Johns, NL.has won the Brier in three of the last four years

Quebec and Ontario finished second in Pool B 3-1 Gushue finished fourth with Matt Dunstone of Saskatchewan

“Our schedule is a bit backward when it comes to favorites in the pool, which is probably a good thing,” Koe said after the early win Playing real games again for a long time

Offering a significant test from the start, Gushue opened with a hammer and scored a tackle when Koe was tough on his last draw

The defending champions made rare mistakes in the second end and Koe took advantage of it by scoring three hits Koe made a draw for two in sixth for a 5-3 lead, but Gushue even drew with one hit for a couple >

Koe was forced to one in the eighth and Gushue drew for two to take the lead in the ninth

That afternoon, Wayne Middaugh, who throws the fourth stone on wild card three for the injured Glenn Howard, pulled the Ontario-based rink to a 12-2 win over Dustin Mikkelsen of Yukon

Middaugh took the idle Manitoba in first place in Pool A 2-0 to first place

“Now we have hopefully learned a few things and can continue to play at a good level with the really top teams that are here,” said Middaugh

With the game in hand, Howard took the lead for the last two ends for the first time in his long career, taking on the alternate role at the 10-day event as he cares for aching ribs

James Grattan of New Brunswick dropped a 6-5 decision against Brendan Bottcher of Alberta, leaving both teams 2-1. Mike McEwen of Wild Card One and Brad Jacobs of Northern Ontario were also 2 after the afternoon wins : 1

McEwen’s rink in Manitoba topped BC.Steve Laycock 10-7 while Jacobs defeated Greg Skauge of the Northwest Territories 7-5

Ontario, Quebec and Saskatchewan took morning wins. Epping defeated McDonald 12-7, Fournier defeated Mackey 15-1 and Dunstone doubled Smith 6-3

Nova Scotia was alone in sixth place in Pool B with 2-2 ahead of P.E.i (0-3), Nunavut (0-3) and Newfoundland and Labrador (0-4)

The preliminary round lasts until Thursday evening. The four best teams in each pool reach the two-day championship round

The semi-finals and the final are for the 14th Scheduled for March The champion will represent Canada at next month’s World Curling Championships in the same venue at Canada Olympic Park

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Kevin Koe

World News – CA – Koe beats Gushue and gives defending champions their first loss at Brier