The championship pool picture became clearer Thursday at the Tim Hortons Brier as Canada’s Brad Gushue, Ontario’s John Epping and Saskatchewan’s Matt Dunstone advanced with afternoon victories.
They joined wild-card skips Wayne Middaugh and Kevin Koe in the final eight.
Gushue secured his spot with a 9-2 rout of Nunavut’s Peter Mackey. The defending Tim Hortons Brier champion from St. John’s, N.L., was tied in second place in Pool B with Ontario and Saskatchewan at 6-2.
Epping’s 8-4 win over Prince Edward Island’s Eddie MacKenzie wrapped up after the minimum eight ends while Dunstone held off Nova Scotia’s Scott McDonald 7-5.
Records will carry over into the two-day championship round. The top three teams will then advance to Sunday’s playoffs.
“We just accomplished step one of three ultimately,” Dunstone said. “So it doesn’t change: the arena, the rocks, everything stays the same come tomorrow.”
Dunstone will have two games Friday and Saturday before finding out if he will advance to Sunday’s playoffs.