Thursday, July 30, 2015

Logjam at Brier

KAMLOOPS, B.C.—Jeff Stoughton has dodged more than a few bullets at the Canadian men’s curling championship but he was hit hard last night, falling 10-4 to Alberta’s Kevin Koe.
Koe’s win set up a three-way tie for first at the Tim Hortons Brier as John Morris of B.C. then beat Eddie MacKenzie of P.E.I. 10-4.

Morris, Koe and Stoughton are all tied at 4-1 at the top of the standings.
Koe grabbed a three in the third end and then stole a crippling four in eight when Stoughton was forced into a low-percentage angle raise and his stone sailed past a crowded four-foot.
Stoughton shook hands at that point.
“We thought we had to give it a shot to score,” he reasoned.
“It was one of those games,” Stoughton added. “We were just a little bit light or a little heavy on some shots. . . .
“We missed four in a row on the end where they stole three.”
Koe’s four in eight came despite a hog-line violation on third Pat Simmons’ final stone.
“I think he said he thought he was coming out a bit light and went to add a little and, you know, just over the hog line,” said Koe.
A missed raise by Manitoba’s third that could have spilled Alberta stones out of the crowded four-foot also put Manitoba further behind the eight ball.
Stoughton noted the kind of shots he has been forced to make by his team have brought down his percentages, but he feels good about his game.
“It’s a reflection of lead, second, and third before you,” he remarked.
“The less shots that are made in front of you, the tougher shots you are making. . . .
“I felt a lot better today about the ice and the weight and throwing, so for me the confidence level went way up after this game,” Stoughton added.
Newfoundland and Labrador’s Brad Gushue improved to 2-3 with a 9-7 win over James Grattan of New Brunswick, who won his first game in the earlier draw.
Northern Ontario also improved to 2-3 by beating still winless Jamie Murphy of Nova Scotia 9-6.
Earlier in the day, Koe won a game he never looks forward to playing.
“This one, you don’t get a lot of enjoyment out of,” the Alberta skip said after beating younger brother, Jamie, from the Territories 8-3 in eight ends.
“It’s never fun beating them because I’m always cheering for them every year they’re here,” he said.
“That being said, we needed a win.”
“They’re obviously better,” Jamie said of the encounters with his brother.
“We’re going to have to play our best and hope for some breaks, but it’s a fair battle,” he added.

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