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Jacobs, Gushue, Epping out front at Brier as championship round underway

Sportsnet logo Sportsnet 2018-03-08 Canadian Press
gushue: Defending champion Brad Gushue. © Andrew Vaughan/THE CANADIAN PRESS Defending champion Brad Gushue.

REGINA — Northern Ontario’s Brad Jacobs, defending champion Brad Gushue and Ontario’s John Epping improved to 7-1 on Thursday when the championship round of the national men’s curling championship got underway.

The eight teams with the best records after the first five days of the Tim Hortons Brier carried those records into the championship round under the new format introduced this year.

Gushue’s rink from St. John’s, N.L., downed Reid Carruthers 7-2, which dropped Manitoba to a 5-3 record alongside Saskatchewan’s Steve Laycock and wild-card team skipped by Mike McEwen.

Alberta’s Brendan Bottcher was 6-2 after an 8-6 loss to Saskatchewan.

Jacobs, the 2013 Canadian champion, earned a 6-4 win over Nova Scotia’s Jamie Murphy, who fell to 4-4.

Epping stole two points in the 10th end to edge McEwen 8-7.

The top four teams from the championship round advance to the Page playoff.

The winner of the Page playoff between the top two seeds advances directly to Sunday’s championship game, while the loser drops to the semifinal to face the winner of the playoff between the third and fourth seeds.

The semifinal will be played earlier Sunday, so the bronze-medal game has been eliminated from the schedule.

Sunday’s champion represents Canada at the world men’s curling championship in Las Vegas from March 31 to April 8.

Gushue’s team is the defending world champion having won the title last year in Edmonton.

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