Tuesday, September 23, 2014

It’s crunch time at Brier

KAMLOOPS, B.C.—It’s crunch time today for two of the top teams at the Canadian men’s curling championships as they fight for the right to play in the 1 vs. 2 game tomorrow night.
Should B.C.’s John Morris win, he would be guaranteed a top-two finish—and most likely No. 1 since he handed Alberta their only loss.

That victory gave both teams 8-1 records, with Morris getting an edge because his rink won the head-to-head match-up.
“We want that 1-2 game,” Morris stressed.
“If we win tomorrow morning [Thursday], we’re in the 1-2 game.”
But should Manitoba’s Jeff Stoughton win, he would be in control and need only beat Ontario in tonight’s draw to ensure a top-two finish.
He was just as anxious yesterday after a win left Manitoba at 7-2.
“We play B.C. which is a huge game for us,” he noted.
“We play them in the morning and that could mean getting into the 1-2 game, which is very important.”
Stoughton looked more in control yesterday and said he felt that way, as well.
Manitoba started with four wins, then lost games to Alberta and Quebec before bouncing back. Alberta, meanwhile, continued its roll with a 10-5 win over Ontario’s Greg Balsdon (4-4) in last night’s draw.
Kevin Koe and Alberta only have P.E.I. (3-6) and Quebec (4-4) standing in their way of a guaranteed top-two finish.
The late draw yesterday had meaning for the teams jockeying for fourth place and a shot at making the final through the 3-4 game.
“This was a big bounce-back game,” Saskatchewan’s Steve Laycock said after beating P.E.I. 8-5 to improve to 5-3—good enough for fourth spot heading into action today.
“We had a couple of tough ones in a row against Alberta and Manitoba, which we knew they would be. . . .
“Heading into the final couple of days, we know we control our own destiny now,” Laycock added.
They play Ontario and B.C. today.
“Tomorrow’s [Thursday] a big one,” said Laycock.
Quebec’s Jean-Michel Menard, meantime, still has hope after improving to 4-4 with an 8-3 win over winless Nova Scotia’s Jamie Murphy.
On the outside looking in, New Brunswick’s James Grattan sits at 4-5 after beating the Territories Jamie Koe 8-3, leaving Koe at 3-6.

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