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Brad Gushue from Newfoundland and Labrador wins Tim Hortons Brier

Team Newfoundland skip Brad Gushue reacts to a shot while taking on Team Alberta in the Brier final in Kingston, Ont., on Sunday, March 8, 2020.
Team Newfoundland skip Brad Gushue reacts to a shot while taking on Team Alberta in the Brier final in Kingston, Ont., on Sunday, March 8, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick

Brad Gushue of Newfoundland and Labrador defeated Alberta’s Brendan Bottcher 7-3 on Sunday night to win the Tim Hortons Brier.

After forcing Bottcher to draw for a single in the ninth end, Gushue made a hit for the win in the 10th.

It was Gushue’s third Canadian title in four years. Bottcher has lost three straight Brier finals.

READ MORE: Gushe advancing to Brier final after beating Saskatchewan’s Dunstone

Gushue and teammates Mark Nichols, Brett Gallant and Geoff Walker will represent Canada at the March 28-April 5 world men’s curling championship in Glasgow, Scotland.

The final was a rematch of the 2018 championship in Regina. Gushue beat Bottcher 6-4 that year to defend the title he won on home ice in St. John’s.

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Bottcher, a native of Sherwood Park, Alta., and teammates Darren Moulding, Brad Thiessen and Karrick Martin lost last year’s final to Kevin Koe.

Alberta was the first seed at the Leon’s Centre after finishing the championship round at 10-1. Newfoundland and Labrador was seeded third at 8-3.

Mounties carry in the Brier Tankard trophy during the Brier curling final between Team Alberta and Team Newfoundland and Labrador in Kingston, Ont., on Sunday, March 8, 2020.
Mounties carry in the Brier Tankard trophy during the Brier curling final between Team Alberta and Team Newfoundland and Labrador in Kingston, Ont., on Sunday, March 8, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick

Bottcher’s team seemed a little off from the start of the final. Alberta gave up a rare steal when Bottcher flashed a stone in the opening end and he ticked a guard in the second to set up a force.

His woes continued in the third end when a rubbed guard set up Gushue for a double-takeout for three points.

Newfoundland and Labrador kept the pressure on in the fourth by forcing Bottcher to draw against four. The Alberta skip ticked a stone and just rolled in as Gushue took hammer with a 4-2 lead.

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Bottcher started to settle in near the game’s midway point.

He finally connected for a nice double in the fifth, forced Gushue to one in the sixth and made another double to blank the seventh.

But Newfoundland and Labrador never lost control. And with Gushue a model of consistency, Alberta was constantly playing defence.

Gushue essentially sealed it in the eighth end with a steal after Bottcher missed a double takeout.

READ MORE: Dedicated curling fans from Kingston — and abroad — lend colour to the 2020 Tim Hortons Brier

This was the 17th career Brier appearance for Gushue, who won Olympic gold in 2006. He’s in his fifth season with his current lineup.

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Bottcher, a 2012 world junior champion, made his Brier debut in 2017.

Gushue defeated Saskatchewan’s Matt Dunstone 7-6 in the semifinal earlier Sunday.

Newfoundland and Labrador decided it would give up a game-tying deuce so it could have hammer coming home. The decision paid off when Gushue drew for a single point and the win.

Dunstone, who lost the 1-2 Page playoff to Bottcher on Saturday, threw his first stone to the eight-foot under cover. The skips made freezes before Gushue threw the game winner.

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Curling fans take their love of the game to a whole new level

“It’s tough. You come so close,” Dunstone said, fighting back tears. “We woke up this morning thinking we were going to be Brier champions.”

The two-time Canadian junior champ made his Brier debut two years ago as vice-skip for Steve Laycock’s Saskatchewan rink.

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The province’s last Brier title came in 1980 when Rick Folk beat Northern Ontario’s Al Hackner.

“They’re going to have lots and lots of chances to win one of these,” Gushue said of the 24-year-old Dunstone. “There’s no doubt in my mind that he is going to win one and probably multiple (titles) over the course of his career.

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Curling fans scoop up souvenirs at the Kingston Brier

“He’s that good. So hopefully he keeps his head up high.”

Gushue will return as Team Canada at the 2021 Brier in Kelowna, B.C., and earn a berth in next year’s Olympic Trials in Saskatoon.

The team gets $105,000 of the $300,000 total purse while Bottcher’s rink picks up $65,000. Gushue’s team also receives $169,440 in Sport Canada funding over two years.

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The women’s world curling championship begins Saturday in Prince George, B.C. Kerri Einarson will represent Canada after winning the Scotties Tournament of Hearts last month.

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Curling superfan marks 50 years at the Brier in Kingston