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Bob Weeks

TSN Senior Reporter

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Sixteen years after he turned orange into red, Brad Gushue did it again and is headed to Beijing to represent Canada in the Olympics where he hopes to win gold.

Gushue, Mark Nichols, Brett Gallant and Geoff Walker got past Brad Jacobs 4-3 in tightly contested hit-fest to win the Tim Hortons Canadian Curling Trials. After wearing orange jackets all week, as he did at the Trials in 2005, Gushue traded them for red ones emblazoned with Canada across the front.

“It’s remarkable,” said Gushue. “I think we should be wearing orange for the rest of our careers.”

The game was a defensive affair for the most part, with both teams using heavy hitting to remove any small build-up of rocks. There were plenty of run-backs, doubles and hit-and-rolls but very few points on the board.

After blanking the first, Gushue scored singles in the second and fourth ends with Jacobs grabbing a point in the third. The fifth, sixth and seventh ends were blanked after which some great shot making by Nichols led to Jacobs being forced to a single in eight to tie the game at two.

In the ninth end, the game finally cracked open. With Gushue sitting two, Jacobs attempted to hit and roll behind a guard but rolled just a few inches too far, with most of the rock exposed. Gushue played a delicate hack-weight tap on the stone and score two points.

In the 10th, Jacobs appeared to be on his way to getting two back, sitting two after third Marc Kennedy’s first shot. But a deft hit-and-roll by Nichols changed that and after Gushue played his first, the team from Newfoundland and Labrador was sitting two.

With his last rock, Jacobs, who never played a single draw in the game, was left with a tough takeout to score two but the rock ran wide, hit the Gushue rock and rolled away, giving the victory to boys in orange.

“We’ve had a great run over the last eight years and hopefully it’s going to continue,” said Gushue.

Jacobs, who played brilliantly in Saturday’s semi-final win against Kevin Koe, wasn’t able to replicate that in the final. The team that also included E.J. Harnden and Ryan Harnden, struggled to generate any offence against Gushue’s near-flawless performance.

“"We needed to be near-perfect today in order to win this game and we weren't," Jacobs told Canadian press.

“The Gushue team is one heck of a team and Canada has got one heck of a representative for the Olympics. Hats off to them. They played great today and it’s well deserved.”

This will be the second trip to the Olympics for Gushue and Nichols, who famously drafted veteran Russ Howard prior to the 2003 Trials, a move that led to a gold medal in Torino, Italy. Walker and Gallant will be making their first appearances.

The team will try to get Canada back on to the medal podium after Koe’s team finished fourth in 2018.