Roy rink relished chance to compete for national title

Dan Falloon

Some time on the East Coast was welcomed by the Raymond Roy rink.
Roy, along with third Dave Broman, second Butch Wensley, and lead Patrick Briere, enjoyed their time at the Dominion Club Curling Championship held in Charlottetown, P.E.I. last week.
“It was absolutely fantastic,” enthused Roy. “The eastern hospitality, that was unbelievable to start with.
“The calibre of curling was very, very good and we curled well,” he added.
“I was very proud of what we did—we were only a tie-breaker [win] away from making the playoffs.”
The Fort Frances crew finished with a 4-2 record in group play to force a tie-breaker with Alberta to determine the second qualifier.
But Alberta emerged with an 8-4 win to topple the local rink for the second time at the competition.
“They beat us twice, so they didn’t fluke it. They were good,” Roy said.
“They were just consistent,” he noted. “They didn’t give us an opportunity, when we had the hammer, they didn’t give us the chance for two.
“They’d hold us to one, or stuff like that.
“They got ahead of us in the round-robin game, and then in the playoff, and that was it,” he continued.
“We couldn’t catch up to them.”
Roy reiterated that getting the early advantage was crucial for his rink, noting they were able to hang onto leads when they pulled away, but had trouble getting back into games where they fell behind early.
“Like I said before I left, if we can get ahead, we’re good,” Roy explained. “We can control the games, and any games where we got a bit ahead, we controlled.
“If we got ahead, we controlled the game and we were able to hang on for the victory.
“The games that we got behind—Manitoba and the two games against Alberta—we couldn’t claw our way back in the game.”
And in those games where they tried to make a comeback, they took risks which didn’t tend to pay off.
“We’re not really a strong offensive team, and so it’s hard for us to come back,” Roy reasoned.
“Every time we got aggressive, we got burned,” he chuckled.
The foursome was forced to come back in its final round-robin game against B.C., which the locals won 8-5.
At that point, both rinks were sitting at 3-2—needing a win and an Alberta loss to force the tie-breaker.
“We had a good relationship with those guys, and we were both trying to win it,” Roy said of the B.C. crew.
“Manitoba was playing right beside us and they beat Alberta 7-0, so both teams knew at about the fourth end that whoever wins this is in a tie-breaker.
“We ended up getting a three-ender on them, and again we were just able to hang on,” he noted.
Roy got off to a fine start at the tournament, downing New Brunswick 10-4.
Then after falling 8-5 to Alberta, Roy was beaten 7-3 by Manitoba, who went undefeated in group play to advance to the playoffs.
But Roy then reeled off back-to-back wins, downing the Northwest Territories 7-4 before wrapping up group play with the key victory over B.C.
Saskatchewan ended up winning the men’s tournament, downing Ontario 6-5 in the final, while Alberta took the women’s crown with a 9-4 win over Saskatchewan.
Off the ice, the Roy rink was able to enjoy its fill of fresh East Coast cooking—something the skip certainly was pleased to see.
“It was unreal. It was unlimited seafood,” he enthused.
“Our opening banquet was to die for if you like seafood,” he added. “It was just everything—mussels and clam chowder, and steak and lobster.
“The hospitality out there, you can’t get any better.”
Roy also was impressed with the people at the tournament, noting the president and CEO of title sponsor, The Dominion, among other executives, mingled in the players’ lounge with the curlers.