Mouat back to Challenge for Canadian Open

Price Atkinson - CAMROSE, Alberta - Bruce Mouat surprised the curling world in November when his team captured the most recent Pinty’s Grand Slam of Curling stop at the BOOST National.

At 23-years old, Mouat became the youngest male skip in GSOC history to win a title.

“It’s so tough it’s unbelievable really just the competition we’ve had,” Mouat told Sportsnet immediately afterwards. “We’ve played so well and hopefully, it’s a sign of things to come.”

What Mouat and along with lead Hammy McMillan Jr., second Bobby Lammie and vice skip Grant Hardie are hoping is to make it two in a row this week at the Meridian Canadian Open. One thing’s for sure - their start couldn’t have been any better, defeating Team Canada’s 2018 Winter Olympic skip Kevin Koe 6-4.

Curling out of Edinburgh, Scotland, Mouat trade a deuce and single with Koe until the Scots took control in the sixth end. The two-time Scottish junior champion (2015, 2016) threw on a in-turn tap around a guard on his final stone of the sixth to pick up his deuce and a 5-3 lead.

He forced Koe to one in the seventh before closing things out with a single in the eighth for the victory.

“We just struggled a little big early in the game,” Koe said afterwards. “We just weren’t solid.”

Mouat was sharp against Koe and in their next game against Winnipeg’s Jason Gunnlaugson. Until the last-three ends when the script flipped.

Gunnlaugson grabbed his deuce to tie it 4-4 in the sixth end and then forced Mouat to blank the seventh. The Canadians applied the pressure in the eighth before Mouat’s final out-turn draw missed, giving Gunnlaugson the deuce and a 6-4 win to advance in bracket A.

Team Mouat now prepares to face experienced four-time Olympian John Shuster coming up at 12:00 pm (MST). The two teams last met at the 2016 Humpty’s Champions Cup when Mouat scored a 7-2 win over the Americans.