Roy earns second berth to ‘Northwesterns’

When Tim Nordin’s rink struggled at the first qualifier for the “Northwestern” men’s curling playdowns here in late November, they decided to make a change.
Nordin switched to third while Raymond Roy took over throwing skip’s rocks, and the move seems to have paid off–at least for now.
Teamed up with second Scott Gobeil and new lead Dave Broman, they dumped Derek Jackson 9-4 on Sunday morning in Stratton to capture the second berth at the “Northwesterns” in Thunder Bay later this month.
For Jackson, it marked his second-straight failure to advance, losing to Don DeBenedet in the first qualifier here in November. His rink will have a shot at earning the third and last berth at Dryden this weekend.
Meanwhile, Roy said their rink definitely curled better the second time around.
“We made the switch because we felt it would strengthen the team and take the pressure off Tim,” said Roy, who skipped a mixed team to the provincials last month.
“We didn’t curl very well at the first [qualifier] and the whole team felt the pressure, especially me, because you can’t make a switch at skip and lose.
“But the whole team curled well,” he enthused.
Still, they didn’t sail through without a blemish despite going 3-0 during round-robin play (including a 7-6 last-rock win over Curtis Sheloff on Friday night, a 7-3 victory over Jackson on Saturday morning, and then doubling Brian Bonot 10-5 that afternoon).
That meant Jackson, who finished second at 2-1, would have to beat Roy twice in order to advance to the “Northwesterns.” And he almost did.
Jackson won the first game 8-4 on Saturday night, then stayed close in the deciding game Sunday morning until Roy scored a deuce in the seventh end and stole one in the eighth to lead 7-4.
After that, Jackson was forced to “open things up,” which Roy took full advantage to nail down the victory.
Roy said the key was when they were “fortunate” to have two rocks buried in the four-foot, which enabled them to steal the pair in the seventh.
“We struggled at first but then we got the steal of two in the seventh, which was the difference because after that [Jackson] had to gamble like crazy,” he remarked.
“But it was a good game. It could have gone either way, and it must have been a fun one to watch,” he added. “Either one of the two teams could have won.”