In Alberta, the story wasn’t about a favourite winning (for a change) it was how one lost. Kevin Koe was beaten in his B semi by unheralded Aaron Sluchinski, who moves on to the 1-2 final against Kevin Martin.
As Norm Cowley details, the team that set it's goal high -- win a game! -- was full value for its big win.
“That was our first time playing any of the big boys,” Sluchinski said after upsetting Koe 10-7 in an provincial men’s championship B Event semifinal.“This is brand new to us. It’s pretty nerve-racking out there playing against those guys. I was actually pretty jittery and nervous the whole time. It was good to come out with a win.”
B.C. will be sending a new representative to the Tim Hortons Brier, although we’re not quite sure who it is yet. As the great MarioAnnicchiarico explains in the Victoria Times-Colonist, two-time defending champion Jim Cotter was defeated on Friday leaving rookies to battle for the Hearts.
Longtime bridesmaid Brent Pierce is one of the teams still fighting.
If you’d bet on the final four teams at the Dominion Tankard in Ontario, you probably would have picked the four that made it – Frans, Howard, Epping and Rumfeldt – but perhaps not how the lined up.
Frans finished on top and will face Howard in the 1-2 game while Epping and Rumfeldt face off in the 3-4 contest.
Everything changed for Frans after he edged Howard in the round robin, as the Barrie Examiner explains:
But when they wenthead-to-head, Frans and his rink turned it around. He never trailed in thatgame, and he picked up a steal of two in the eighth end to clinch an 8-3victory over Howard.From then on in, Franswas untouchable, winning a total of seven games in a row to finish round-robinplay at 8-2.Frans, who curls out ofthe Bradford Curling Club but lives in Erin, has a chance to return to thefinals for the second straight year, after having played second for Team Cornerlast year.
All the playoff action gets underway today in an area digging out from the Snow-mageddon that hit Eastern Canada yesterday.
In Manitoba it’s the regular suspects leading the way with Jeff Stoughton and Mike McEwen and Rob Fowler et al moving on to the playoff round.
As Paul Wiecek explains, it’s the 49-year-old Stoughton who is leading the way so far with a dominating performance.
With two more victories here on Friday -- 9-5 over Dave Elias Friday morning to qualify for the playoff round and then 9-2 over Steen Sigurdson in the opening round of the playoffs last night -- Stoughton improved to a perfect 4-0 and has now outscored his opponents in Neepawa by a combinied score of 36-11.
Consider: Stoughton has scored 9 points in each of his four victories this week -- he’s won 9-2 three times and 9-5 once; and he’s yet to even play a 10-end game -- his opponents have quit after six ends once, seven ends twice, and nine ends once.
Put it altogether, and it’s become crystal clear this week why Stoughton’s opponents annointed him the number one seed coming into this event.