Gushue, Jones open Canadian mixed doubles curling playoffs with victories

PORTAGE LA PRAIRIE, Man. — Former Olympic champion skips Brad Gushue and Jennifer Jones posted victories on Friday to kick off the playoffs at the Canadian mixed doubles curling trials.

Jones, who led the Canadian women’s curling team to gold at the 2014 Sochi Games, teamed with Mark Nichols to post an 8-6 victory over Reid Carruthers and Jill Officer, who was one of Jones’s teammates in Sochi.

Gushue, who led Canada to Olympic men’s gold in 2006, teamed with Val Sweeting for a 7-4 win over Geoff Walker and Laura Crocker. Nichols was also part of the gold-medal squad in Turin, and both he and Walker are part of Gushue’s current four-man rink.

The fourth member of Gushue’s team, Brett Gallant, teamed up with Jocelyn Peterman for a 6-4 win over Chelsea Carey and Colin Hodgson. The Carey/Hodgson team scored a 9-7 tiebreaker win over Catlin Schneider and Nancy Martin earlier Friday to advance to the playoffs.

In other results, Kaitlyn Lawes and John Morris defeated Dana Ferguson and Brendan Bottcher 8-6.

The second round of a modified double knockout playoff was scheduled for later Friday, with the survivors advancing to Saturday’s Page playoffs.

The gold-medal game is scheduled for Sunday.

The winner will represent Canada when mixed curling doubles makes its Olympic debut next month at the 2018 Pyeongchang Games.

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