It was a dominant victory for Brad Gushue Sunday night at the Leon’s Centre, as his Newfoundland rink beat Alberta’s Brendan Bottcher 7-3 to claim the 2020 Tim Hortons Brier.
The win marks Gushue’s third Brier title in just four years, after the Newfoundland skip won the event back in 2017 and 2018.
This year’s victory comes at one of the strongest fields ever assembled for a national championship.
“It feels absolutely incredible. To win in this field, which I believe is the best field I’ve certainly played in, that’s special to play our best game in the final,” Gushue said after the victory.
On route to Sunday’s win, Team Newfoundland went 8-3 in the preliminary round of the tournament, before defeating Brad Jacobs and Matt Dunstone to reach the finals.
“What an incredible week, I’m so proud of our team, we played so well,” Gushue said.
While the scoreboard was somewhat lopsided, it was the game’s curling percentages where Gushue truly dominated. Throughout the game, Gushue curled an almost-perfect 97 per cent, compared to Bottcher’s 71 per cent.
The loss for Bottcher marks the 28-year-old’s third consecutive defeat in a Brier final. The young skip says the team was simply outplayed by Gushue.
“[We] certainly didn’t play our best early, and you can’t give that big of lead to those guys,” Bottcher said. “I just think that me and the guys needed to shoot a little bit better.”
While Bottcher certainly has a long career ahead of him, the loss was particularly challenging for Alberta’s third Darren Moulding, who acknowledges he may not have many more opportunities left to win a Brier.
“I’m starting to get older so I don’t know how many times I’m going to be able to get back here, I’m just proud of the guys, [I] just wish it would’ve turned out different.” Moulding said as he fought back tears. “I know we can play a lot better than that.”
After winning this year’s Brier, Team Gushue will now become Team Canada at next month’s World Championships in Scotland. In two previous appearances at Worlds, Gushue has both a gold and silver medal to his name.
Dylan Chenier is a busy student, writer and actor. When he’s not writing about his favourite sports like curling or auto racing, he can often be found on-stage or behind the scenes at the Domino Theatre. Follow him on Twitter for more 2020 Brier coverage at @DylanC98.