BANFF, Alberta - Brendan Bottcher broke open a see-saw affair by winning a $7,500 carryover skin in the 7th end to pace an $11,500-$9,500 win over Brad Gushue on Friday at the TSN All-Star Curling Skins Game.
"At the start of our first skins game we were a little jittery," explained Bottcher, "but we settled in and played well in the second half. And really in skins, that's when the rubber hits the road."
After a first end carryover, Gushue secured the hammer, but a Bottcher steal in the second end secured him two skins and $2,000. Gushue took the hammer in the third end and took advantage of a last rock miss by Bottcher to score two and win $1,500. Bottcher had the hammer in the fourth end, but his attempted runback double was unsuccessful, resulting in a $1,500 Gushue steal.
The see-saw affair continued in the 5th when Bottcher used a delicate tap to win $2,000 and re-take the lead. With Gushue holding the hammer in 6th, Bottcher executed a nice double takeout, forcing Gushue to make a routine draw to force a carryover. With $7,500 at stake in the 7th and Bottcher with the hammer, Gushue missed a game-saving double takeout, resulting in an open draw for Bottcher to secure the skin and the win. Gushue was able to salvage at least a few bucks when he made a tough raise takeout for three to win $6,500 in the final end.
"It was a pretty even game. We won three skins, they won three skins, they just won three bigger ones," said Gushue. "So it's hard to be disappointed in our performance. Timing is such a big factor in skins games, and our timing wasn't great tonight. The 7th end, with all those carryovers, it was a bad time to give up a deuce. We're going to spend the next three weeks making sure we're in peak form for the Brier. We'd love to win three in a row."
"We were making more shots in the second half," said Bottcher. "Anytime you can beat those guys, you're doing well. It was hard last year when they beat us, but we've gotten them a few times this year. We've proven we can beat them. Another year of a lot of big-game experience has really paid off for us. It's given us the last little bit of confidence that we needed. It's showing through this year. I'd love to play Koe [in Sunday's final] a week before our provincial. I think that would set the tone."
The event continues on Saturday with three semifinals featuring Team Einarson vs. Team Fleury (TSN, 11am et/9am mt), Team Koe vs. Team Carruthers (TSN, 3pm et/1pm mt) and Team Jones vs. Team Scheidegger (TSN1/3/4, 7pm et/5pm mt).
The women's and men's finals will be played on Sunday.