Friday, October 31, 2014

Favourites stay ahead of pack

KAMLOOPS, B.C.—The favourites going into the 2014 Canadian men’s curling championship are the favourites coming out as the round-robin drew to a close with Alberta, Manitoba, and B.C. sitting one, two, three.
Manitoba’s Jeff Stoughton and B.C.’s John Morris won their final round-robin games last night to finish the Tim Hortons Brier preliminary robin at 9-2.

Alberta’s Kevin Koe sat at 9-1 heading into his final game this morning after a 9-6 win over P.E.I. yesterday afternoon.
If he won, the final three in order will be Alberta, Manitoba, and B.C.
All that remained up for grabs is the fourth and final playoff spot.
Saskatchewan and Quebec, both at 6-4, were leading the race but Newfoundland and New Brunswick were hanging in at 6-5.
Saskatchewan and New Brunswick played this morning (ed. note: the outcome wasn’t known as of press time).
“There’s still some hope,” Quebec skip Jean-Michel Menard said of his chances to reach the 3 vs. 4 playoff game, although he had to face Alberta this morning.
One scenario could see four teams needing to work through tiebreakers later today—if both Saskatchewan and Quebec lost their final round-robin game.
“If both of the teams lose, there’s four teams at 6-5, which looks like a messy tie-breaker, so hopefully we don’t have to go through that,” Menard said.
Saskatchewan’s Steve Laycock knows his path to the playoffs.
“Win our last and either get some help from Alberta, or play a tie-breaker,” he remarked.
Morris said they will be happy to get into the playoffs through the 3 vs. 4 game. He got passed by Manitoba yesterday morning when he lost 7-6 to Stoughton in an extra end.
“We’re prepared to go through the 3-4 game, we’re prepared to go to the 1-2 game, it doesn’t matter,” Morris stressed after his final game at night.
“If we have to play a few extra games in this ’spiel, we’ll get our money’s worth,” he reasoned.
Stoughton noted the strange way the tie-breaker system works that actually could change the order if Alberta loses to Quebec this morning.
B.C. would move into top spot, leaving Alberta in second and Stoughton third.
“It’s kind of interesting,” said the Manitoba skip and three-time Brier champ.
“I mean Koe can actually pick who he’s going to play,” he noted.
But Stoughton admitted that isn’t a likely outcome since Koe will be trying hard to win to get hammer and choice of rocks going into the Page playoffs.
Greg Balsdon and Ontario were sitting at 4-6 with one game left to play this morning after losing to Manitoba.
The Northwest Territories-Yukon team of Jamie Koe was tied with Eddie MacKenzie out of P.E.I. at 3-7 with one game left.
Jeff Currie and Northern Ontario were finished at 2-9 while Nova Scotia’s Jamie Murphy was winless at 0-10 going into their final game against Ontario this morning.

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