It was not a good Monday morning at the Brier for Vernon’s Jim Cotter.
Cotter and his rink of third Steve Laycock, second Tyrel Griffith and lead Rick Sawatsky suffered their first loss at the Canadian men’s curling championships in Brandon, falling 10-4 in eight ends to defending champion Brad Gushue and Team Canada of Newfoundland/Labrador.
The match was a battle of two of the three teams sitting atop Pool B in the preliminary round standings with 2-0 records.
Gushue started the scoring early, picking up a deuce with the hammer in the opening end, then stealing a point in the second for a 3-0 lead. Cotter made a hit-and-stick with his final stone in the third end to score a pair and get back to within one, but Gushue scored three in the fourth to take a 6-2 lead.
Cotter had single points in the fifth and seventh ends, but the defending champs added a second three-spot sandwiched in between for a 9-3 lead. The B.C. champs shook hands after Gushue scored one in the eighth end.
Cotter falls to 2-1 heading into a game at 5 p.m. Pacific with Terry Odishaw of New Brunswick.
Odishaw dropped to 1-2, giving up a steal of four in the 10th end to fall 12-7 to Alberta’s Kevin Koe, who improved to 3-0.
Koe and Gushue meet at 5 p.m.
Nova Scotia’s Stuart Thompson improved to 2-1 with a 6-5 win over Jamie Koe of the Northwest Territories, who falls to 0-3.
Ontario’s Scott McDonald scored a 9-2 win over Dave St. Louis of Nunavut in a battle of teams that entered the game at 0-2.
The top four teams in each of the eight-team pools will advance to the second round-robin starting Thursday, carrying over their preliminary round records. Top four teams after the second round-robin advance to Saturday’s playoffs.