Defending champion Gushue scores back-to-back wins to open Tour Challenge

THUNDER BAY, Ont. — Defending champion Brad Gushue is off to a strong start at the Tour Challenge.

Gushue downed Toronto's John Epping 10-8 in Wednesday's evening draw to move to 2-0 at the third stop on the Grand Slam of Curling circuit.

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The skip from St. John's N.L., was trailing Epping (1-1) 7-4 before scoring four in the sixth end for his first lead of the draw. That came after putting up a four spot in the fourth end to make it 5-5.

Gushue also toppled American Rich Ruohonen (1-1) 7-4 in his opening draw on Tuesday.

Regina's Matt Dunstone (1-1) beat Sweden's Niklas Edin (0-2) 5-4, while Edmonton's Brendan Botcher (1-1) defeated Glen Howard of Penetanguishe, Ont., (1-1) 5-4 in Wednesday's other evening draws on the men's side.

Meanwhile, Winnipeg's Kerri Einarson, a two-time Tour Challenge winner including last season, is 2-0 after downing Edmonton's Chelsea Carey (1-1) 7-3 Wednesday evening.

Einarson opened with a triple in the first end and led the rest of the way.

Switzerland's Silvana Tirinzoni (1-1) beat Winnipeg's Allison Flaxey (1-1) 7-2 in the only other women's draw of the night.

Round-robin play continues until Friday, with the playoffs on Saturday and the championship draw Sunday.

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