(CHATHAM, ON) – Team Hasselborg capped the first women’s play in the Princess Auto Elite 10 with a well earned victory. On the men’s side, Team Gushue of St John’s, NL, survived a late end scare to win a second Elite 10 championship.
Skip Anna Hasselborg, 29, got off to a slow start against Switzerland’s Silvana Tirinzoni as the sides blanked the first two ends. Hasselborg then went to work by going 4 up over the next four ends, removing the need for the final ends of play.
Collectively, the Swedes curled at an 83% clip, led by lead Sofia Mabergs at 89%. However, the game was punctuated by a triple takeout by third Sara McManus quickly followed by a double from Hasselborg.
“The team played great today,” said Hasselborg. “I think this was our best game so far this week. To do that in a final, it really proves the strength of my girls on this team. I’m very happy and I’m super proud to be their skip.”
Together with second Agnes Knochenhauer, the win for Team Hasselborg was the first Grand Slam victory by a Swedish women’s team. It’s even more remarkable since the foursome had only played the match-play format once before going 6-0 at the St Clair College Arena this past week.
“This match-play skins format is new to us,” Hasselborg said. “We only played one game of that before coming here as a team, so we brought (three time world champion) Wayne Middaugh in to learn from the best, and it worked.”
Hasselborg can now add the Gland Slam win to the team’s Olympic gold medal and world championship silver.
“It’s a big check mark for us. It feels really amazing,” she said. “I think we are the first women’s team from Sweden to do so. I’m very, very, very proud.”
The week-long Elite 10, the first stop on the Pinty’s Grand Slam of Curling series, was very well attended through the competition. Sunday’s finals was standing room only as the seating areas and Pinty’s Pub were filled to capacity.
In the afternoon, fans watched as Team Gushue and Team Carruthers battled through a very closely contested match. Often in the later ends the arena was completely silent as the curler readied himself in the hack. Only after the release of the stone did the air fill again with cheers.
Gushue took the lead in the game in the 3rd end and doubled it to 2 up in the 6th. With last rock in the 7th, Mike McEwen, the 4th for Team Carruthers, earned a point to stave off an early finish. However, with last rock in the 8th, Gushue blanked the end for his 11th Grand Slam win.
It would be inaccurate to say the win was a surprise. However, considering that Brett Gallant, Mark Nichols, Geoff Walker and Gushue were scheduled to fly out before the finals on Sunday, it was surprising to the team to have made it to the championship game.
“To come out here and win against teams that have played two, three, four times, it’s good,” said the team skip. “But, a little bit of luck. We had some fortunate misses against us and also made some key shots, too.”
The men’s foursome earned a $30,000 cut of the prize money while Team Hasselborg took home $32,000.
With their victories, Gushue and Hasselborg have qualified for the Humpty’s Champions Cup from April 23 through 28 in Saskatoon. Gushue is the men’s defending champ.
The next stop on the Pinty’s Tour schedule is the 2018 Canadian Beef Masters in Truro, NS, from October 23 through 28. Fifteen men’s and women’s teams, split into three pools in each division, will compete for a share of $250,000. Both Gushue and Hasselborg are scheduled to appear.