SAULT STE. MARIE, Ont. — Brad Gushue of St. John's, N.L. suffered his first loss of the Grand Slam season at the National, falling 5-2 to John Morris of Vernon, B.C., on Friday in their final round-robin game.
The loss dropped Gushue to 3-1 — still good for first place in Pool A and a guaranteed playoff spot — while handing him his first defeat at a Grand Slam of Curling event. Gushue went unbeaten to win both the season-opening Tour Challenge in September and the Masters last month.
It was the only victory of the tournament for Morris (1-3), who didn't advance to Saturday's playoffs.
Gushue had to wait to find out his playoff opponent. The men's side needed three tiebreakers to determine the playoff seedings after six teams finished the preliminary round 2-2.
He will face Mike McEwen in one of four quarterfinal draws after the Winnipeg skip downed Greg Balsdon of Kingston, Ont., 9-2 in a tiebreaker.
Calgary's Kevin Koe (3-1) will play Scotland's Bruce Mouat, who won his tiebreaker against defending champion Brad Jacobs of Sault Ste. Marie, Ont., 8-5.
And Toronto's John Epping beat Winnipeg's Pat Simmons 7-5 in the final tiebreaker and will play Winnipeg's Jason Gunnlaughson.
Gunnlaughson is the only undefeated skip on the men's side heading into the playoffs. He went 4-0 to top Pool B.
Winnipeg's Reid Carruthers and Chang-Min Kim of South Korea topped Pool C at 3-1 and will face each other in the other playoff draw.
Three skips on the women's side are undefeated heading into Saturday's playoffs.
Tracy Fleury of Sudbury, Ont., Edmonton's Val Sweeting and Winnipeg's Jennifer Jones finished atop their pools with 4-0 records.
It'll be Fleury against Switzerland's Binia Feltscher (2-2), Sweeting versus Calgary's Chelsea Carey (2-2) and Jones against Switzerland's Alina Paetz (2-2) in the Round of 8.
Casey Scheidegger (3-1) of Lethbridge, Alta., faces Ottawa's Rachel Homan (3-1) to round out the women's quarterfinals.