OTTAWA — Brad Gushue of Newfoundland and Labrador and Alberta's Kevin Koe are playoff-bound at the Tim Hortons Brier.
Gushue locked up a berth with an 8-7 victory over B.C.'s Jim Cotter in the morning draw at TD Place. The veteran skip came through with a hit on his final throw and stayed on the button to improve to 8-1 after 14 draws.
Koe (7-3) secured his spot by posting an 8-3 win over Canada's Pat Simmons. Northern Ontario's Brad Jacobs, who did not play in the early draw, is in first place and playoff-bound after opening with eight straight victories.
Saskatchewan's Steve Laycock eliminated Ontario's Glenn Howard from playoff contention with a 7-4 victory and Prince Edward Island's Adam Casey topped Jamie Koe of the Northwest Territories 7-4.
Manitoba's Mike McEwen (6-2) is the favourite to earn the final playoff spot. He can lock up a berth in one of the two draws scheduled for later in the day.
Several teams have a slim chance of reaching a tiebreaker but they'll be eliminated with another loss or if McEwen posts a victory in one of his three remaining games.
Round-robin play concludes Friday morning. The medal games are scheduled for Sunday.
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Gregory Strong, The Canadian Press